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Title: Notes Geographical and Historical, Relating to the Town of Brooklyn in Kings County on Long-Island
Author: Furman, Gabriel
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Notes Geographical and Historical, Relating to the Town of Brooklyn in Kings County on Long-Island" ***

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                  [Illustration: ON THE EAST RIVER.]

                            RELATING TO THE
                           Town of Brooklyn,
                             KINGS COUNTY

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

                          BY GABRIEL FURMAN.

                    [Illustration: text decoration]

      “They are worthy of reprehension who contemn the study of
    antiquity, (which is ever accompanied with dignity) as an arid
    curiosity.”                               LORD COKE.




[Illustration: text decoration]

The Compiler offers these notes to the inhabitants of his native town,
in the hope that they may be in some small degree useful and
entertaining in discussions relating to the history and rights of this
thriving place. He claims no merit for this performance, and neither
does he write from the vanity of being considered an author, but is only
actuated by a desire to rescue from oblivion such facts as may be
interesting to his fellow-citizens. The Compiler would consider himself
guilty of ingratitude, if he did not in this public manner, acknowledge
the obligations he rests under from the kind assistance afforded him
whilst collecting these notices, by Jeremiah Johnson, Abraham
Vanderveer, Silas Wood, and John Doughty, Esqrs.


[Illustration: text decoration]


This town is situated in Kings County, on the west end of Long-Island,
in the State of New-York. It is bounded north by the City and County of
New-York; east by the township of Bushwick; south by the township of
Flatbush and New Utrecht; and west by New-York Bay; and contains the
village of Brooklyn, which is about a mile square. This town formerly
composed part of a powerful Indian Sachemdom; and with the other parts
of the Island bore the Indian name of Matowcas.

This part of the Island, as far as Jamaica was inhabited by the Canarsee
tribe of Indians. The old Dutch inhabitants in this county have a
tradition, that the Canarsee Indians were subject to the Mohawks, as all
the Iroquois were called; and paid them an annual tribute of dried clams
and wampum. When the Dutch settled here, they persuaded the Canarsees to
keep back the tribute; in consequence of which a party of the Mohawks
came down and killed their tributaries wherever they met them. So great
was the dread that these Indians afterwards entertained of the Iroquois,
that when a party of the Iroquois, during the French war were taken
prisoners and imprisoned in the Jail of this county, the Canarsees
avoided them with the greatest care; and seemed to be afraid even to
come where they should see them. The Canarsee Indians are at this time
totally extinct: not a single member of that ill fated race is now in

There was also a small tribe of the Nyack Indians near the Narrows.

In this town is also the United States Navy-Yard, containing about 40
acres; which was purchased of John Jackson, Esq. by Francis Childs, Esq.
for $40,000, and on the 23d day of February, 1801, was conveyed by said
Childs to the United States.


In 1667, this town was known by the name of Breucklen. In the act to
divide the province of New-York into shires and counties, passed Nov. 1,
1683, it is mentioned by the name of Breucklyn. It is also called
Broucklyn in the act to divide the province into shires and counties,
passed, Oct. 1, 1691. The present name Brooklyn, does not appear to have
been generally adopted until after the Revolutionary war.

Heads of Indian arrows, beds of oyster and clam shells denoting the
former residence of the aborigines, are frequently found in different
parts of this town.

Among the most ancient remains are two houses, one owned by the family
of Cortelyou, built in 1699; the other standing on Fulton-street, in the
village of Brooklyn. The last mentioned house was occupied by the
Colonial Legislature as a Sessions house, during the prevalence of the
small-pox in New-York, in 1752; and at this house on the 4th of June,
1752, 2541 Bills of credit issued by this Colony, amounting to £3602,
18, 3, were cancelled by the Colonial Commissioners. This house was also
occupied by Gen. Putnam as his head quarters during the stay of the
American Army, on Long-Island, in 1776. But the oldest house in the town
of Brooklyn is supposed to be the house known as No. 64 Fulton-street,
in the village of Brooklyn, and now owned and occupied by Mr. Jacob
Patchen. Mr. Charles Doughty, who has been dead about 25 years, and was
about 85 years of age when he died, said that this was an old house when
he was a boy. Mrs. Rapalye, the mother of John Rapalye, whose property
in Brooklyn was confiscated during the Revolutionary war, says that this
house was built by a family of the Remsens who came from Holland.


The soil of this town appears to be mostly alluvial, though some few
primitive rocks are to be met with. Several years since, in digging a
well on some of the highest ground in Brooklyn, a hemlock board was
found at the depth of 30 feet, and again at the depth of 73 feet, oyster
and clam shells were met with, which crumbled on being exposed to the

The shores of Brooklyn, where they are not defended by wharves, are
undergoing continual and rapid changes, in consequence of the velocity
of the current in the East River. The tide rises here about 5 feet.

There is very little doubt, but that Governor’s Island was formerly
connected with Red Hook point in this town. It is an established fact,
that previous to the Revolutionary contest, cattle were driven from Red
Hook to Governor’s Island, which places at that time were only separated
by a very narrow channel, which is called Buttermilk channel, and is now
wide and deep enough to admit of the largest size of merchant vessels
passing through.

The climate is very changeable, but cannot be called unhealthy. People
in this town live to as great age, as in almost any other part of the
United States; as instances of which, April, 1823, Mr. Tiebout died in
this town, aged 100 years and 10 months. The same year, Mr. Schoonmaker
died, aged 84 years; and in 1824, Mary Peterson, a colored woman died,
aged 103 years. It is not an uncommon thing for the inhabitants to live
beyond the “three score years and ten.”

This town has at different periods been visited by the yellow fever.
Between July 10th and September 10th, 1809, 28 persons died of that
disease.--During the prevalence of the yellow fever in the city of
New-York, in the summer of 1822, seven persons died of that disease in
Brooklyn. In the summer of 1823, the yellow fever made its appearance in
the village of Brooklyn, and nine persons fell victims to that dreadful
pestilence, in the space of one month, during which time its ravages
continued. Every year that this disease made its appearance amongst us,
it could be distinctly traced to some foreign cause; as, in 1809, it was
brought in the ship Concordia, Captain Coffin, on board of which vessel
the first case and death happened. In 1822, it was introduced from the
city of New-York--and in 1823, it was traced to two or three vessels
which had arrived a short time previous from southern latitudes. Indeed
the high and airy situation of Brooklyn almost precludes the idea of its
being engendered among us.


In the year 1638, William Kieft, Director General and Counsellor for
their high mightinesses the States General, and his highness the Prince
of Orange, granted to Abraham Rycken, a tract of land in the present
town of Brooklyn.

September 11, 1642, William Kieft Director General, &c. patented to Jan
Manje, a piece or parcel of land containing 20 morgan, or 40 acres, in
the town of Brooklyn. A copy of which patent is hereto annexed as a
specimen of those ancient instruments:

     “By William Kieft, Director General and Counsellor, about the high
     and mighty Lords, the States General of the United Low Country, and
     his highness of Orange, and the Lords Commanders of the priviledged
     West India Company, residing in the New-Netherland, do ratify and
     declare by these presents, that we upon the date hereinafter
     written, did give and grant to Jan Manje, a piece of land, greatly
     twenty morgan stretching about south-east one hundred and ninety
     rods inward the woods towards to Sassians maise land--long is the
     limits of the said maise land fifty rod, and then again to the
     water side, two hundred and twenty rod, about north north-west,
     well so northerly and along the strand or water side, seventy rod.
     Which abovesaid land is lying upon Long-Island, between Andries
     Hudde and Claes Janse Ruyter.--With express conditions, &c. Dated
     at Fort Amsterdam, in the New-Netherland, the 11th day of
     September, 1642.


     By order of the Lord the Director General, and Counsellor of


January 29, 1652, Pieter Linde, having married the widow of Jan Manje,
transported or sold the above tract of land to Barent Janse. August 23,
1674, before Nicasius de Sille, admitted Secretary of the Dutch towns
appeared Jan Barentse,[1] and Auke Janse, with Simon Hausen as Guardian
of the other children of Barent Janse, deceased, “procured by his wife
Styntie Pieterse deceased, all living within the town of Midwout
Fflackbush,” and declared that they transported the above tract of land
to Dirck Janse Woertman.

September 12, 1645, William Kieft, Director General, &c. patented to
Andries Hudden, “a piece of land lying upon Long-Island against over the
fort, lying to the south-west to Jan Manje,” containing 37 morgan.
December 10, 1651, “Pieter Cornelissen by virtue of a procuratie of
Andries Hudden,” for the consideration of 400 guilders, transported to
Lodewyck Jongh the above tract. July 19, 1676, Lodewyck Jongh
transported to Jeronimus de Rapalje, eight morgan of the above tract.
February 12, 1679, Harmatie Jansen relict of Lodewyck Jongh, transported
to Dirck Janse Woertman, 12 morgan of the above tract. May 3, 1685,
“Dirck Janse Woertman, transported to the heirs of Jooris Dirckse, a
small stroke off land lying at the east side off the highway being all
the claime they can pretende by virtue off the abovesaid Pattent.”

September 30, 1645, William Kieft, Director General, &c. patented to
Claes Janse, from Naerder, a piece of land, containing 20 morgan, lying
south-east, a little easterly, just over against the Fort, upon
Long-Island. March 11, 1660, the above tract of land was transported by
Claes Janse Ruyter, to Machiell Tadens, who transported the same to
Machiell Hainielle.

The three patents to Manje, Hudde, and Janse, from Naerder, were located
near the Ferry in this town, and all subsequently were purchased by
Derick Woortman, alias Dirck Janse Woertman, and were by him sold to
Joras Remsen, on the 10th day of October, 1706, for the sum of £612 10s.
current money of New-York.

There is great reason to believe that there was a General Patent of this
town under the Dutch Government, which patent is now lost. What
strengthens this idea is, that the first by Governor Nicolls under the
English is confirmatory of some former grant.

August 10th, 1695. The Patentees and freeholders of this town sold unto
Stephanus Van Cortlandt, the neck of land called Red Hook, containing by
estimation 50 acres; which they state in their deed “was formerly given
and granted to the town of Broocklyn, in the year 1657, by Governor
Stuyvesant, the Dutch Governor then at that time, and since confirmed by
the English Governors, Governor Nicolls, and Governor Dongan.” Which is
very strong proof of there having been a general Dutch Patent for this

October 18, 1667. Richard Nicolls, the first English Governor of
New-York, granted to the inhabitants of Brooklyn, the following full and
ample patent, confirming them in their rights and privileges.

     _L. S._ “Richard Nicolls, Esq. Governor General under his Royal
     Highness James Duke of Yorke and Albany, &c. of all his Terretorys
     in America, To all to whom these presents shall come, sendeth
     Greeting.--Whereas there is a certain town within this government,
     situate, lying and being in the West Riding of Yorkshire upon
     Long-Island, commonly called and known by the name of Breuckelen,
     which said town, is in the tenure or occupation of several
     freeholders and inhabitants who having heretofore been seated there
     by authority, have been at very considerable charge, in manuring
     and planting a considerable part of the lands belonging thereunto
     and settled a competent number of families thereupon. Now for a
     confirmation unto the said freeholders and inhabitants in their
     possessions and enjoyment of the premises, Know ye, That by virtue
     of the commission and authority unto me given by his Royal
     Highness, I have given, ratified, confirmed and granted, and by
     these presents, do give, ratify, confirm and grant, unto Jan
     Everts, Jan Damen, Albert Cornelissen, Paulus Veerbeeck, Michael
     Eneyl, Thomas Lamberts, Tuenis Guysbert Bogart and Joris Jacobson,
     as patentees, for and on the behalf of themselves and their
     associates, the freeholders and inhabitants of the said town their
     heirs successors and assigns, all that tract together with the
     several parcels of land which already have or hereafter shall be
     purchased or procured for and on behalf of the said town, whether
     from the native Indian proprietors, or others, within the bounds
     and limits hereafter set forth and exprest, viz. that is to say,
     the town is bounded westward on the farther side of the land of Mr.
     Paulus Veerbeeck, from whence stretching south-east, they go over
     the hills, and so eastward along the said hills to a south-east
     point which takes in all the lotts behind the swamp, from which
     said lotts the run north-west to the River[2] and extend to the
     farm, on the t’other side of the hill heretofore belonging to Hans
     Hansen over against the Kicke or Looke-out, including within the
     said bounds and limitts all the lotts and plantations, lying and
     being at the Gowanis, Bedford, Wallaboucht and the ferry.--All
     which said parcels and tracks of land and premises within the
     bounds and limitts aforementioned, described, and all or any
     plantation or plantations thereupon, from henceforth are to bee
     appertaine and belong to the said town of Breucklen, Together with
     all havens, harbours, creeks, quarryes, woodland, meadow-ground,
     reed-land or valley of all sorts, pastures, marshes, runs, rivers,
     lakes, hunting, fishing, hawking, and fowling, and all other
     profitts, commodities, emoluments, and hereditaments, to the said
     lands and premises within the bounds and limits all forth
     belonging, or in any wise appertaining,--and withall to have
     freedome of commonage for range and feed of cattle and horse into
     the woods as well without as within these bounds and limitts with
     the rest of their neighbours[3]--as also one-third part of a
     certain neck of meadow ground or valley called Sellers neck, lying
     and being within the limits of the town of Jamaica, purchased by
     the said town of Jamaica from the Indians, and sold by them unto
     the inhabitants of Breucklen aforesaid, as it has been lately laid
     out and divided by their mutual consent and my order, whereunto and
     from which they are likewise to have free egress and regress, as
     their occasions may require.[4] To have and to hold all and
     singular the said tract and parcell of land, meadow ground or
     valley, commonage, hereditaments and premises, with their, and
     every of their appurtenances, and of every part and parcell thereof
     to the said patentees and their associates, their heirs, successors
     and assigns, to the proper use and behoof of the said patentees and
     their associates, their heirs, successors and assigns forever.
     Moreover, I do hereby give, ratify, confirm and grant unto the said
     Patentees and their associates, their heirs, successors and
     assigns, all the rights and privileges belonging to a town within
     this government, and that the place of their present habitation
     shall continue and retain the name of Breuckelen, by which name and
     stile it shall be distinguished and known in all bargains and sales
     made by them the said Patentees and their associates, their heirs,
     successors and assigns, rendering and paying such duties and
     acknowledgments as now are, or hereafter shall be constituted and
     established by the laws of this government under the obedience of
     his Royal highness, his heirs and successors. Given under my hand
     and seal at Fort James, in New-York, on the Island of Manhattat,
     this 18th day of October, in the nineteenth year of the reign of
     our Sovereign Lord, Charles the second, by the grace of God, of
     England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the faith,
     &c. Annoque Domini, 1667.


     Recorded by order of the Governor, the day and year above written.


1670. The inhabitants of this town desirous of enlarging the bounds of
their common lands, and extinguishing the Indian claim to the same,
applied to Governor Lovelace, and obtained from him the following
permission to purchase of the Indians.

     “_L. S._ Whereas the inhabitants of Breucklyn, in the west Riding
     of Yorkshire upon Long-Island, who were seated there in a township
     by the authority then in being, and having bin at considerable
     charges in clearing ffencing and manuring their land, as well as
     building ffor their conveniency, have requested my lycense for
     their further security to make purchase of the said land of some
     Indians who lay claim and interest therein; These are to certify
     all whom it may concerne, that I have and doe hereby give the said
     inhabitants lycense to purchase their land according to their
     request, the said Indians concerned appearing before me as in the
     law is required, and making their acknowledgments to be fully
     satisfied and payed for the same. Given under my hand and seal at
     ffort James, in New-Yorke, this ffirst day of May, in the 22nd
     yeare of his Majestyies reigne, Annoque Dom. 1670.


The purchase was accordingly made and the following is a copy of the
deed from the Indians for the same.

“To all people to whom this present writing shall come, Peter, Elmohar,
Job, Makaquiquos, and Shamese, late of Staten-Island send Greeting:
Whereas, they the said Peter, Elmohar, Job, Makaquiquos, and Shamese,
afore-mentioned, doe lay claime to the land now in the tenure and
occupation of some of the inhabitants of Breucklyn, as well as other
lands there adjascent as the true Indian owners and proprietors
thereof, Know Yee, that for and in consideration of a certaine sum of
wampum and diverse other goods, the which in the Schedule annext are
exprest unto the said Sachems in hand payd by Monsieur Machiell
Hainelle, Thomas Lambertse, John Lewis, and Peter Darmantier, on the
behalf of themselves and the inhabitants of Breucklyn, the receipt
whereof they doe hereby acknowledge, and themselves to be fully
satisfyed and payed therefore; have given, granted, bargained and sold,
and by these presents doe fully, freely and absolutely give, grant,
bargain and sell, unto the said Monsieur Machiell Hainelle, Thomas
Lambertse, John Lewis and Peter Darmantier, ffor and on behalf of
themselves, and the inhabitants aforesaid, their heyrs and successors;
all that parcell of land and tract of land, in and about Bedford, within
the jurisdiction of Brucklyn, beginning ffrom Hendrick Van Aarnhems land
by a swamp of water and stretching to the hills, then going along the
hills to the port or entrance thereof,[5] and soe to Rockaway ffoot path
as their purchase is more particularly sett fforth; To have and to hold
all the said parcell and tract of land and premises within the limits
before described unto the said Monsieur Machiell Hainelle, Thomas
Lambertse, John Lewis, and Peter Darmantier, ffor and on the behalf of
the inhabitants aforesaid, their heyres, and successors, to the proper
use and behooff of the said inhabitants, their heyers and successors
forever; In witness whereof the partyes to these presents have hereunto
sett their hands and seales, this 14th day of May, in the 22nd yeare of
his Majestyes reigne, Annoque Dom. 1670.

Sealed and Delivered in the presence of Mathias
Nicolls, R. Lough, Samuel [Illustration: symbol] Davies, John Garland.
                           his marke

    The mark of ק Peter,            (L. S.)
    The mark of o Elmohar,          (L. S.)
    The mark of א Job,              (L. S.)
    The mark of ? Makaquiquos, (L. S.)
    The mark of 7 Shamese,          (L. S.)

“This Deed was acknowledged by the within written Sachems, before the
Governor in the presence of us, the day and year within written.

    MATHIAS NICOLLS, Secretary.
    The mark of [Illustration: symbol] SAMUEL DAVIES.

    “Recorded by order of the Governor,

    MATHIAS NICOLLS, Secretary.

_The Inventory, or Schedule referred to in the Deed._

     “The payment agreed upon ffor the purchase of the land in and about
     Bedford, within the jurisdiction of Breucklyn, conveyed this day by
     the Indian Sachems, proprietors is, viz.

     100 Guilders Seawant,

     Half a tun of strong Beer,

     2 half tuns of good Beer,

     3 Guns, long barrells, with each a pound of powder, and lead
     proportionable--2 bars to a gun,

     4 match coates.”

May 13, 1686. Governor Dongan granted to the inhabitants of Brooklyn the
following confirmatory patent:

     _L. S._ “Thomas Dongan, Lieutenant Governor, and Vice Admiral of
     New-York, and its dependencies under his Majesty James the Second,
     by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland,
     King, Defender of the Faith, &c.--Supreme lord and proprietor of
     the Colony and province of New-York and its dependencies in
     America, &c. To all to whom this shall come sendeth greeting,
     whereas the Honorable Richard Nicolls, Esq. formerly Governor of
     this province, did by his certain writing or patent under his hand
     and seal, bearing date the eighteenth day of October, Annoque
     Domini, one thousand six hundred and sixty-seven, ratifie, confirm
     and grant unto Jan Everts, Jan Damen, Albert Cornelissen, Paulus
     Verbeeck, Michael Enyle, Thomas Lamberts, Tunis Gisberts Bogart,
     and Joris Jacobsen, as patentees for and on behalf of themselves
     and their associates, the freeholders and inhabitants of the town
     of Breucklen, their heirs, successors, and assigns forever, a
     certain tract of land, together with the several parcels of land
     which then were or thereafter should be purchased or procured for
     and on behalf of the said town, whether from the native Indian
     proprietors, or others within the bounds and limitts therein sett
     forth and expressed, that is to say, the said town is bounded
     westward on the further side of the land of Mr. Paulus Verbeeck,
     from whence stretching south-east they go over the hills, and so
     eastward along by the said hills to a south-east point, which takes
     in all the lotts behind the swamp, from which said lotts they run
     north-west to the River, and extend to the farm on the other side
     of the hills heretofore belonging to Hans Hansen, over against Keak
     or Look-out, including within the said bounds and limitts all the
     lots and plantations, lying and being at the Gauwanes, Bedford,
     Wallabocht and the ferry, all which said parcells and tract of land
     and premises within the bounds and limitts aforementioned
     described, and all or any plantation or plantations thereupon, from
     henceforth are to be, appertain and belong to the said town of
     Breucklyn, Together with all harbor, havens, creeks, quarries,
     woodland, meadow ground, reed land or valley of all sorts,
     pastures, marshes, waters, rivers, lakes, fishing, hawking,
     hunting, fowling, and all other profits, commodities, emoluments
     and hereditaments to the said lands and premises within the bounds
     and limitts set forth, belonging, or in any wise appertaining, and
     with all to have freedom of commonage for range and feed of cattle
     and horses, into the woods with the rest of their neighbours, as
     also one third part of a certain neck of meadow ground or valley,
     called Seller’s neck, lying and being within the town of Jamaica,
     purchased by the said town of Jamaica from the Indians, and sold by
     them unto the inhabitants of Breucklen aforesaid, as it was laid
     out aforesaid, and divided by their mutual consent and order of the
     Governor. To have and to hold unto them the said patentees and
     their associates, their heirs, successors and assigns forever, as
     by the said patent reference being thereunto had, doth, fully and
     at large appear. And further, in and by the said patent, the said
     Governor, Richard Nicolls, Esq. did erect the said tract of land
     into a township by the name of Breucklen aforesaid, by that name
     and style to be distinguished and known in all bargains, sales,
     deeds, records and writings whatsoever; and whereas the present
     inhabitants and freeholders of the town of Breucklen aforesaid,
     have made their application to me for a confirmation of the
     aforesaid tract of land and premises in their quiet and peaceable
     possession and enjoyment of the aforesaid land and premises. Now
     Know Ye, That I, the said Thomas Dongan, by virtue of the
     commission and authority derived unto me, and power in me
     residing, have granted, ratified and confirmed, and by these
     presents do grant, ratifie and confirm, unto Teunis Gysberts,
     Thomas Lamberts, Peter Jansen, Jacobus Vander Water, Jan Dame,
     Joris Jacobs, Jeronimus Rapalle, Daniel Rapalle, Jan Jansen, Adrian
     Bennet, and Michael Hanse, for and on the behalf of themselves and
     the rest of the present freeholders and inhabitants of the said
     town of Breucklen, their heirs and assigns forever, all and
     singular the afore-recited tract and parcels of land set forth,
     limited and bounded as aforesaid; together with all and singular,
     the houses, messuages, tenements, fencings, buildings, gardens,
     orchards, trees, woods, underwoods, pastures, feedings, common of
     pasture, meadows, marshes, lakes, ponds, creeks, harbors, rivers,
     rivulets, brooks, streams, highways and easements whatsoever,
     belonging or in any wise appertaining to any of the afore-recited
     tract or parcells of land and divisions, allotments, settlements
     made and appropriated before the day and date hereof. To Have and
     To Hold, all and singular, the said tract or parcels of land and
     premises, with their, and every of their appurtenances unto the
     said Tunis Gysberts, Thomas Lamberts, Peter Jansen, Jacobus Vander
     Water, Joris Jacobs, Jeronimus Rappalle, Daniel Rappalle, Jan
     Jansen, Adrian Bennet and Michael Hanse, for and on behalf of
     themselves and the present freeholders and inhabitants of the town
     of Breucklen, their and every of their heirs and assigns forever,
     as tenants in common without any let, hindrance, molestation, right
     of survivorship or otherwise, to be holden in free and common
     socage according to the tenure of East Greenwich, in the county of
     Kent, in his Majesty’s kingdom of England. Yielding, rendering and
     paying therefor yearly, and every year, on the five and twentyeth
     day of March, forever, in lieu of all services and demands
     whatsoever, as a quit rent to his most sacred Majesty aforesaid,
     his heirs and successors, at the city of New-York, twenty bushels
     of good merchantable wheat. In testimony whereof, I have caused
     these presents to be entered and recorded in the Secretary’s
     office, and the seal of the Province to be hereunto affixed this
     thirteenth day of May, Anno. Domini, one thousand six hundred and
     eighty-six, and in the second year of his Majesty’s reign.


Quit rents to the following amounts and at the following periods have
been paid on the Brooklyn patents.

June 8, 1713. Paid to Benjamin Van de Water, Treasurer, the sum of £96
7s. 1d. for upwards of 16 years quit rent.

April 6, 1775. Charles Debevoice, Collector of the town of Brooklyn,
paid to the Receiver General of the Colony of New-York, 20 bushels of
wheat, for one year’s quit rent, due from said town.

November 9, 1786. Fernandus Suydam, and Charles C. Doughty, two of the
Trustees of the town of Brooklyn, paid to the Treasurer of the State of
New-York, the sum of £105 10s. in full for arrears of quit rent due from
the said town.


The difference between this town and the city of New-York relative to
the water rights of the former, has deservedly excited the attention and
interest of our inhabitants, as involving property to a great amount,
and unjustly withholding from our town a revenue which would enable it
to improve with almost unparalleled rapidity. In order that each person
so interested may form a correct opinion of the subject matter in
dispute, the Compiler has thought proper, under this head, to lay before
them the foundations of the claims on both sides of the question.

October 18, 1667. In the reign of Charles 2d. Richard Nicolls, Esq.
Governor General of the Province of New-York, under his Royal Highness
James, the Duke of York, &c. afterwards James 2d. of England, granted to
the inhabitants of this town a confirmatory patent, acknowledging that
they were rightfully, legally and by authority in possession of the
property and privileges they then enjoyed. The patent after naming the
patentees, and describing the bounds of the town, and binding by the
_River_ and not by high water mark, proceeds to say, “Together with all
_havens_, _harbors_, creeks, marshes, _waters_, _rivers_, lakes,
fisheries.” “Moreover, I do hereby give, ratify and confirm unto the
said patentees and their associates, their heirs, successors and
assigns, all the _rights_ and _privileges_ belonging to a town within
this government.” Under this patent the town of Brooklyn justly claims
the land between high and low water mark on their shore, in opposition
to the claims of the Corporation of the city of New-York; and an equal
right with them to erect ferries between the town of Brooklyn and the
city of New-York.

It does not appear that there was any adverse claim on the part of
New-York, until the 27th of April, 1686, _nineteen years_ after the date
of the Brooklyn patent, when the Corporation of New-York obtained a
charter from Governor Dongan, by which the ferries were granted to them,
but not a word mentioned about the land between high and low water mark
on the Brooklyn side. From the reading of this charter it appears as if
the Governor was doubtful as to his right even to grant the ferry, for
it contains an express saving of all the rights of all other persons,
bodies politic and corporate, their heirs, successors and assigns, in as
ample a manner, as if that charter had not been made.

May 13, 1686. The freeholders and inhabitants of Brooklyn somewhat
apprehensive of encroachments by New-York, obtained from Governor
Dongan, a patent under the seal of the Colony, fully confirming that
granted them by Governor Nicolls.

May 6, 1691. An act was passed by the Governor, Council and General
Assembly of the Colony of New-York, “for settling, quieting and
confirming unto the cities, towns, manors, and freeholders within this
Province, their several grants, patents and rights respectively.” By
this act the freeholders and inhabitants of the town of Brooklyn were
confirmed in the rights they possessed and enjoyed under their two
several patents.

October 12, 1694. The Corporation of New-York, not thinking their
foothold on the Brooklyn side sufficiently secure, purchased of one
William Morris, for no specific consideration, a piece of land in
Brooklyn near the ferry. This deed is the foundation of the Corporation
claim to their land in the village of Brooklyn. A copy of which will be
found in the appendix marked with the letter A.

Bent on unjustly wresting from the town of Brooklyn their water right,
the Corporation on the 19th of April, 1708, obtained from Governor
Cornbury, a man infamous for his vices, and disregard of justice,
another charter, in which they came out more openly than before, and
claimed the _vacant_ land to high water mark, on Nassau Island,
reserving to the inhabitants of Brooklyn the right of transporting
themselves in their own boats ferriage free, to and from New-York.[6]
By this charter, no matter how ample soever they might have considered
it at the time, they obtained nothing but _vacant_ land to high water
mark; that is the land which was not already granted, and in the
possession of some other person or persons, which was not the fact as to
the land on the Brooklyn side, it being vested in the patentees, their
heirs, successors and assigns forever; so that the only power or
authority remaining in the Governor, was to grant the Corporation of
New-York, the privilege of buying the water rights of the inhabitants of
Brooklyn. But that would not answer their purpose, for those rights
could be bought cheaper of Governor Cornbury, than they could of this

This proceeding on the part of New-York stimulated the inhabitants of
Brooklyn to obtain from the Colonial Legislature in 1721, an act
confirming their patent rights.

To obviate the effects of this law, and strengthen the charter of
Cornbury, which from the circumstances under which it was obtained, the
Corporation feared was invalid, on the 15th of January, 1730, they
procured from Governor John Montgomerie, a new charter confirming their
pretended right to the land to _high water mark on our shore_.[7]

The grants from the Corporation of New-York, under their two charters
for the water lots on the Brooklyn side, are very artfully and
ingeniously drawn. By those grants are only conveyed “all the estate,
right, title, interest, property, claim, and demand whatsoever, in law
and equity” of them the said Corporation; and their covenant for quiet
possession only extends to them and their successors, and not against
any other persons lawfully claiming the premises. These grants, in order
to save the Corporation harmless against the claims of Brooklyn, also
contained a covenant to the following effect: “It is hereby covenanted,
granted and agreed upon by and between the parties to these presents
(that is, the Corporation of New-York and the person to whom they give
the grant,) and the true intent and meaning hereof also is, and it is
hereby declared, that this present grant, or any words, or any thing in
the same expressed, or contained shall not be adjudged, deemed,
construed or taken to be a covenant or covenants on the part and behalf
of the said parties of the first part, (that is, the Corporation of
New-York) or their successors for any purpose or purposes whatsoever,
but only to pass the estate, right, title, and interest, they have or
may lawfully claim by virtue of their several charters, of in and to the
said premises.” Which covenant evidently shews a want of confidence in
the validity of their title on the part of the Corporation.

October 14, 1732. An act was passed by the General Assembly of this
Colony, “confirming unto the City of New-York its rights and
privileges.” By this act no addition was made to their former pretended

November 14, 1753. The freeholders and inhabitants of this town
appointed Jacobus Lefferts, Peter Vandervoort, Jacob Remsen, Rem Remsen,
and Nicholas Vechte, Trustees, “to defend our patent where in any manner
our liberties, privileges and rights in our patent specified is
encroached, lessened or taken away by the commonalty of the city of
New-York.” A copy of the proceeding of the town meeting at which the
above trustees were elected will be found in the appendix marked B.

Not satisfied with the encroachments they had made, the Corporation
began to question the right of the inhabitants of Brooklyn to cross to
and from New-York ferriage free in their own boats, and to carry over
the inhabitants in those boats;--the result was, that in July, 1745, a
suit was commenced by one of the inhabitants of Brooklyn, named Hendrick
Remsen, against the Corporation of New-York, which was tried before a
jury in Westchester county. A special verdict was found setting forth
all its patents and charters, and among other things, that the road from
which the said Hendrick Remsen ferried the inhabitants of Brooklyn to
and from New-York, “then and long before was laid out for a public
highway leading down to _low water mark_ on the East River between the
places aforesaid called the Wallaboucht and the Red Hook on Nassau
Island, and the jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid, do further
say, that the River called the East River, over which the said Hendrick
did carry the persons and goods aforesaid, from the said lands between
the Wallabocht and the Red Hook, is a large and public and navigable
river used by his Majesty’s ships and other ships and smaller vessels
employed in trade and commerce, and hath always been so used from the
first settlement of this Colony.” On argument judgment was rendered by
the Supreme Court of this Colony in the month of October, 1775, in
favour of Hendrick Remsen, that he recover his damages against the
Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the city of New-York, and the sum of
one hundred and eighteen pounds, fourteen shillings and ten pence half
penny for his costs and charges. An appeal to the King and Council from
this decision, was brought by the Corporation, which was not determined
in consequence of the Revolutionary war. There is a tradition in this
town that the Corporation of New-York were so apprehensive of this claim
on the part of the town of Brooklyn, that in order to disengage Hendrick
Remsen from the interest of the town, they gave him a house and lot of
land near Coenties Slip, in the city of New-York. How far this tradition
is correct, the Compiler is unable to say.--It appears however, that he
about that time became in possession of such property, and the same
remained in his family within the memory of some of our inhabitants.

Our two Patents are confirmed by the Constitution of this State, which
confirms all grants of land within the State, made by the authority of
the King of Great Britain or his predecessors, prior to the 14th of
August, 1775.

The Compiler thinking it would not be uninteresting to his fellow
citizens to see a statement of the amount received by the Corporation of
New-York for quit rent on the water lots claimed by them, has given the
following short statement.

The Commissioners of the Sinking Fund of the City of New-York have
received, from August 23d, 1813, to Dec. 31, 1824.

    For Water lot rents,             $17,635 24
    Commutation for water lot rents,  17,275 41
                                     $34,910 65

    The Corporation of New-York during the present
    year 1824, have received for water lot rents
    the sum of                        $8,862 97

Within a short time the jurisdiction of the village of Brooklyn has been
extended beyond low water mark, leaving the pretended right of soil
still in the Corporation of New-York.[8] August term, 1821, in the case
of Udall vs. the Trustees of Brooklyn, the Supreme Court of this State
decided that Kings County, of which the village of Brooklyn is part,
includes all the wharves, docks, and other artificial erections in the
East River, opposite to the City of New-York, though west of the natural
low water mark on the Nassau or Long-Island shore; and the jurisdiction
of the village extends to the actual line of low water, whether formed
by natural or artificial means. Same term, in the case of Stryker vs.
the Mayor, &c. of the City of New-York, the Supreme Court decided that
the city and county of New-York includes the whole of the Rivers and
harbour adjacent to actual low water mark, on the opposite shores, as
the same may be formed, from time to time, by docks, wharves and other
permanent erections; and although the jurisdiction of the city does not
extend so as to include such wharves, or artificial erections, yet it
extends over the ships and vessels floating on the water, though they be
fastened to such wharves or docks.

April 9, 1824. The Legislature of the State of New-York in the act to
amend the act entitled “an Act to incorporate and vest certain powers in
the freeholders and inhabitants of the village of Brooklyn in the County
of Kings,” granted this town concurrent jurisdiction with the City of
New-York in the service of process, in actions civil and criminal, on
board of vessels attached to our wharves; and in the act for the
establishment of a Board of Health in the village of Brooklyn, authority
is given to the said Board to remove all infected vessels from the
wharves within the said village.

The ferries have been unavoidably, in some degree, taken into
consideration when speaking of our town rights. The compiler will
therefore confine himself to such historical facts, and laws, and such
proceedings, passed and had by the Colonial and State legislatures as
may relate particularly to them.

During the early years of this Colony, the old ferry was from near the
foot of Joralemon-street, to the Breede Graft, now Broad-street, in the
City of New-York. At that period a creek ran through the middle of
Broad-street, up which the boats ascended to a ferry-house which is
still standing. At this time it is difficult to ascertain the exact
period when the old ferry was established at its present situation on
the Brooklyn side. In 1697, John Aeresen was ferry master.

It appears from the following order, that the Court of Sessions of Kings
County, exercised some authority over the ferry between Brooklyn and
New-York. October 7, 1690. “Whereas much inconvenience does arise by
several negroes coming on this Island from New-York and other places,
and from this Island to New-York. It is ordered, that the ferrymen
shall not bring or set over any negroes or slaves upon the Sabbath day,
without a ticket from their masters.”

Acts have been passed by the Colonial and State legislatures for the
purpose of regulating the ferries between this town and the City of
New-York, in the following chronological order:

November 2d, 1717, an act was passed, which was revived in the year
1726, and again in 1727. October 14, 1732. Another act was passed for
the same purpose. By this act it was provided, “That the ferryman for
the time being, shall not impose, exact, demand, or receive any rates or
ferriage for any goods or things whatsoever, transported by any of the
inhabitants living alongst the River at or near the Ferry on
Nassau-Island, in their own boats or canoes,” provided that the same be
their own goods or commodities. This act continued in force until the
28th of February, 1789, when another act was passed regulating the
ferriage, and containing a similar proviso. April 9, 1813. The last
mentioned law was re-enacted, with the same provision.

The winter previous to the prosecution of the suit between Hendrick
Remsen, and the Corporatiun of the City of New-York, the inhabitants of
Brooklyn made an attempt to obtain from the Colonial legislature, a
further confirmation of some of their rights, particularly relating to
the ferry; on which application the following proceedings were had.

January 30, 1745-6. In General Assembly, a petition of the Trustees of
the town of Brookland, in Kings County, in behalf of themselves, and the
freeholders and inhabitants of the said township, was presented to the
House and read, setting forth, That a great number of the inhabitants of
the said township, living near the ferry from Nassau-Island to New-York,
and having their chief dependence of supporting their families by
trading to the New-York markets, are by one act of the General Assembly,
entitled, an act to regulate the ferry between the City of New-York and
the Island of Nassau, and to establish the ferriage thereof, passed in
the sixth year of his Majesty’s reign, debarred from transporting their
goods in their own vessels, to the said markets, which exposes them to
very great hardships, difficulties and expences, and therefore humbly
praying that they may have leave to bring in a bill to relieve them from
the aforesaid hardships. Upon a motion of Major Van Horne, (of New-York)
ordered, that the Clerk of this house serve the Corporation of the City
of New-York, with a copy of the said petition forthwith.

In General Assembly, April 12, 1746, Mr. Abraham Lott, according to
leave, presented to the house, a bill entitled, “an act to repeal an act
therein mentioned, so far as it relates to the freeholders and
inhabitants of the township of Brooklyn, in Kings County, within this
colony;” which was read the first time, and ordered a second
reading.--Ordered, that the Corporation of the City of New-York, be
served with a copy of the said bill.

April 18, 1746. In General Assembly. The bill entitled, an act to repeal
an act therein mentioned, so far as it relates to the freeholders and
inhabitants of the township of Brooklyn, in Kings County, within this
colony, being offered to be read a second time, Capt. Richards (of
New-York) moved, that the second reading of the said bill might be
deferred until the next meeting of the House, after the first day of
June next; which was agreed to by the House and ordered accordingly.

June 20, 1746. In General Assembly. A petition of the Mayor, Aldermen
and Commonalty, of the City of New-York, was presented to the House and
read, setting forth, That the Corporation having been served with a copy
of a bill now before this House, entitled, an act to repeal an act
therein mentioned, so far as it relates to the freeholders and
inhabitants of the township of Brooklyn, in Kings County, within this
colony; do conceive that the passing the said Bill into a law, may
affect their ancient rights and freehold, and therefore humbly praying
that they may be heard by their Counsel against the said bill, at the
bar of this House, on Friday next, ordered, that the Trustees of the
township of Brooklyn, be heard by their counsel in support of the said
Bill, at the bar of this house, on Friday next, and that Mr. William
Smith appear for them. Ordered, that the Clerk of this house serve the
parties with a copy of these orders forthwith.

June 27, 1746. In General Assembly. The House being informed, that the
Corporation of the City of New-York were attending with their Counsel to
be heard against the Bill; and that the Trustees of the township of
Brooklyn, were also attending with their Counsel to be heard in support
of the said Bill; both parties were called in, and the counsel on both
sides having been fully heard, for and against the said Bill, they were
directed to withdraw; and the Bill being read the second time, the
question was put,--whether the said Bill should be committed, and
carried in the affirmative in the manner following:--Affirmative,
Messrs. Lott, Chambers, Stillwell, Livingston, Harring, Cornell, Abraham
Lott, Lecount, Bradt, Nicoll, Hardenbergh, and Gale 12.--Negative,
Messrs. Richards, Cruger, Clarkson, Van Horne, Philipse, Morris,
Verplank, and Thomas, 8.

July 4, 1746. In General Assembly, the engrossed Bill entitled, an act
to repeal an act therein mentioned, so far as it relates to the
freeholders and inhabitants of the township of Brooklyn, in Kings
County, within this colony, was read the third time, and upon Mr.
Speaker’s putting the question, whether the Bill should pass, a motion
was made by Col. Morris in the words following, viz.--As this Bill has
been already ordered to be engrossed, by a majority of the House, and
the question that now is put, is, whether this Bill shall pass; I must
beg leave to give my reasons for opposing its passage. The first is, it
is alledged by this bill, that the people of Brooklyn had a right, prior
to the act passed in the year 1732, which was not proved, nor attempted
upon the hearing before this house; but if we pass this Bill, we allow
that right to be proved, and then it becomes our allegation, which I
conceive, inconsistent with the honor and justice of this house, to
alledge any thing in such a case, but what has been proved. The second
is, it implies that the act in 1732, took away unjustly, a right from
the people of Brooklyn, that they were entitled to. Thirdly, it implies,
that the house have fixed the two points before mentioned, and then it
will necessarily follow, that we have considered the rights of the
Corporation,[9] as well as those of the people of Brooklyn; that we have
not, I appeal to the house, who must allow, that no such right ever
appeared to us, at least as a House, and for us to declare certain facts
by a Bill, which has never been proved, will be doing, what I conceive,
we ought not to do, if we make justice and equity the rule of our
conduct. For these reasons, I move, that the Bill may be rejected. The
question being put thereon it was carried in the negative, in the
manner following, viz.----For the negative, Messrs. Chambers, Lott,
Cornell, Hardenbergh, A. Lott, Bradt, Lecount, Gale, and Harring, 9.
Affirmative, Messrs. Cruger, Morris, Richards, Van Horne, Clarkson,
Verplank, Philipse, and Thomas, 8.

Resolved, That the Bill do pass. Ordered, that Colonel Harring, and Mr.
Hardenbergh do carry the Bill to the Council and desire their
concurrence. By which it appears that it was considered by the House, as
well as subsequently by the Supreme Court, that the right of the town
was sufficiently proved, notwithstanding the assertions of Colonel

This Bill by _some means_ was stifled in the Council,[10] and never
became a law.

During the Revolution the Old ferry was kept by Messrs. Van Winkle, and
Bukett; at which period the usual charge for crossing was six pence for
each passenger.

August 1, 1795. The ferry from the foot of Main-street, Brooklyn, to the
foot of Catharine-street, New-York, commonly called the New ferry, was
established by Messrs. William Furman and Theodosius Hunt, lessees from
the Corporation of the City of New-York.

In consequence of the prevalence of the Yellow fever in Brooklyn, in the
month of August, 1809, the old ferry was removed to the foot of
Joralemon-street, and the boats plied from there to Whitehall, New-York.

On the 4th day of March, 1814. The legislature of this State passed an
act allowing William Cutting and others his associates, to charge four
cents for each passenger crossing in the Steam-boat to be by them placed
on the Old ferry. Previous to this, the fare was two cents for each
passenger. May, 1814, the Steam-boat commenced plying on the old ferry
between Brooklyn and New-York.

This Ferry Company derive their interest in the old or Fulton ferry,
from a lease executed January 24th, 1814, by the Mayor, Aldermen and
Commonalty of the City of New-York, to Robert Fulton, and William
Cutting. The rent reserved by the Corporation on this lease is $4000 per
annum for the first 18 years, and $4500 per annum for the remaining 7
years.[11] It is a difficult matter to speak correctly of the present
income of this ferry. At its first establishment the dividends were made
on a capital estimated at $45,000, divided into shares of $1000 each,
and were made at the rate of 5 per cent. for six months and what
remained after this 5 per cent. taken out, formed the surplus dividend.
From May 1814, to November 1815, the regular dividends on one share
amounted to $157 11½, and during the same period the surplus dividend
amounted to $228 21½, making a dividend of $385 33, on one share for
about 18 months equal to about 25 per cent. per annum.

At the Session of the Legislature in the winter of 1818, the Corporation
of New-York presented a petition praying that they might have the
regulation of the rates of ferriage between this town and the city of
New-York--against which the Trustees of the village of Brooklyn, and the
inhabitants of this town strongly remonstrated, stating that “they had
full confidence that the Legislature of this state would never increase
the rates of ferriage, nor permit the same to be increased, beyond what
is necessary to support the ferries in the best manner; they therefore
prayed that the Legislature would not surrender to the Corporation of
New-York a right, which had been reserved by the Legislature, and which
the petitioners deemed of the greatest importance to the inhabitants of


This town appears to have entered early into the contest respecting
roads. There are many instances on record previous to 1683, of the
Constable of Brooklyn being ordered to repair the roads, and in case of
neglect, fined; and in one instance he was ordered by the Court not to
depart until further order.

The main road, or as part of it is now called, Fulton-street, in the
village of Brooklyn, was laid out March 28th, 1704, by Joseph Hageman,
Peter Cortelyou, and Benjamin Vandewater, Commissioners, appointed by an
act of the General Assembly of the colony of New-York, for the laying
out, regulating, clearing and preserving of public highways in the
colony. The record of this road is as follows:--“One publique, common
and general highway, to begin ffrom _low water marke_ at the ferry in
the township of Broockland, in Kings county, and ffrom thence to run
ffour rod wide up between the houses and lands of John Aerson, John Coe,
and George Jacobs, and soe all along to Broockland towne aforesaid,
through the lane that now is, and ffrom thence straight along a certaine
lane to the Southward corner of John Van Couwenhoven’s land, and ffrom
thence straight to Bedfford as it is now staked out, to the lane where
the house of Benjamin Vandewater stands, and ffrom thence straight
along through Bedfford towne to Bedfford lane, running between the lands
of John Garretse, Dorlant and Claes Barnse, to the rear of the lands of
the said Cloyse, and ffrom thence southerly to the old path now in use,
and soe all along said path to Philip Volkertses land, taking in a
little slip of said Philip’s land on the south corner, soe all along
said road by Isaack Greg’s house to the Fflackbush new lotts ffence, and
soe all along said ffence to the eastward, to the north-east corner of
Eldert Lucas’s land, lying within the New lotts, of Fflattbush
aforesaid, being ffour rod wide all along, to be and continue forever.”

This road or “king’s highway,” as it was then called, leading from the
ferry to the old Dutch Church, or Brooklyn parish, was the cause of much
contention. At the April term of the General Sessions of the Peace for
Kings County, in 1721, indictments were found for encroaching on the
“common high way of the King, leading from the ferry to the Church at
Brookland,” against John Rapalje, Hans Bergen and James Harding, and
others.--By which indictments it appears that the road should have been
four rods wide.

These indictments appear to have been predicated as well on the
following application of John Rapalje and Hans Bergen, as on complaints
from several of the inhabitants:

     “Fflatbush, April 19, 1721. John Rapalje and Hans Bergen of the
     fferry, desires of the grand jury that the Commissioners now being
     should be presented for not doing their duty in laying out the
     king’s highway according to ye law, being the King’s highway is too
     narrow from the ferry to one Nicalus Cowenhoven, living at Brooklyn
     and if all our neighbours will make ye road according to law, then
     ye said John Rapelje and Hans Bergen, is willing to do the same as
     aforesaid, being they are not willing to suffer more than their
     neighbours. As witness our hands the day and year first above


Some of the persons indicted considering themselves aggrieved, and
others who feared being placed in the same situation, applied to the
Colonial Legislature, and July 27th, 1721, obtained the passage of a law
to “continue the common road or king’s highway, from the ferry, towards
the town of Breuckland, on the Island of Nassau, in the Province of New
York,” with the following preamble. “Whereas several of the inhabitants
on the ferry, on the Island of Nassau, by their petition preferred to
the General Assembly, by setting forth, that they have been molested
prosecutions, occasioned by the contrivance and instigations of ill and
disaffected persons to the neighbourhood, who would encroach upon the
buildings and fences that have been made many years, alledging the road
was not wide enough, to the great damage of several of the old
inhabitants, on the said ferry; the said road as it now is, has been so
for at least these sixty years past, without any complaint, either of
the inhabitants or travellers.”

The law then proceeds to establish the road “forever,” as it then was,
from the ferry upwards to the town of Breuckland, as far as the swinging
gate of John Rapalje, just above the house and land belonging to James
Harding. These proceedings will readily account for Fulton-street, in
the present village of Brooklyn being so narrow and crooked in many

The point however to which the Compiler wishes to draw the attention of
his fellow citizens, is to the existence and location of several public
highways and landing-places in this town which at present are known to
very few.

There is a public landing-place at or near the mills of Nehemiah Denton,
Esq. and a public highway leading thereto.--The record of which is as
follows:--“One common highway to Gawanus mill, to begin ffrom the
north-east corner of Leffert Peterses ffence, and soe along the roade
westerly, as it is now in use to the lane yt parts the lands of Hendrick
Vechte, and Abraham Brower, and Nicholas Brower, and soe all along said
lane as it is now in ffence to the house of Jurian Collier, and from
thence all along the roade now in use to the said Gowanos mill, being in
all four rod wide to the said lane; and that there be a convenient
landing place for all persons whatsoever, to begin ffrom the
southernmost side of said Gowanus mill house, and ffrom said house to
run ffour rod to the southward, ffor the transportation of goods and the
commodious passing of travellers; and that said highway to said Gowanos
mill ffrom said house of said Jurian Collier shall be but two rod only
and where it is now in use; said common highway to be and continue
forever; and ffurther that the ffence and gate that now stands upon the
entrance into said mill neck, ffor the inclosing and securing of said
neck, shall soe remaine and be alwayes kept soe inclosed with a ffence
and hanging gate; and the way to said mill to be thorow that gate only
and to be allwayes shutt or put to by all persons that passes thorow.”
The Commissioners laid out the above road and landing place, March 28th,

In 1709, the Commissioners laid out another road and landing place, at
or near the mill of John C. Freeke, Esq. The record of which is as
follows:--“One common highway to begin ffrom the house of Jurian
Collier to the New mill of Nicholas Brower, now sett up on Gowanos mill
neck soe called, as the way is now in use along said neck to said mill
to be of two rod wide; and that there shall be a landing place by said
mill in the most convenient place ffor the transportation of goods and
the commodious passing of travellers; and said highway and landing place
to be, remaine and continue forever.”

This town has a public landing place seven rods in length, near the foot
of what is now called District-street, in the village of Brooklyn.--This
landing place is mentioned in the record of a road three rods wide,
leading to the same, which record the Compiler omits inserting in
consequence of its length and the multitude of entries connected

It is believed by many, and not without very good reason, that this town
has a public landing place a short distance to the North of the Old or
Fulton ferry, and which landing place is now in the possession of the
Corporation of New-York.

There is a very distinct tradition of a road to near where this landing
place is supposed to have been, at the foot of which road was the public
slaughter house, where the butchers of Brooklyn dressed their meats. The
road referred to, came out where the house of the Fire Engine No. 4 now
stands, and the existence of that road gives the town its title to that
small piece of ground.


The town having acquired so great an extent of Common land by the
purchase of 1670, from the Indians, the inhabitants thought proper to
take some order for the division and defending thereof, together with
their other lands--accordingly, “at a Town meeting held the 25th day of
February, 169⅔, att Breuklyn, in Kings County. Then Resolved to divide
their common lands and woods into three parts, in manner following to

     1. All the lands and woods after Bedford and Cripplebush, over the
     hills to the path of Newlotts shall belong to the inhabitants and
     freeholders of the Gowanis, beginning from Jacob Brewer and soe to
     the uttermost bounds of the limits of New-Utrecht.

     2. And all the lands and woods that lyes betwixt the abovesaid path
     and the highway from the ferry towards Flattbush, shall belong to
     the freeholders and inhabitants of Bedford and Cripplebush.

     3. And all the lands that lyes in common after the Gowanis, betwixt
     the limits and bounds of Flatbush and New Utrecht shall belong to
     the freeholders and inhabitants of Brooklyn, fred. neck, the ferry
     and the Wallabout.” This proceeding of the Town meeting was allowed
     of by the Court of Sessions, held at Flatbush, on the 10th day of
     May, 1693.

     The following will serve to shew the manner in which the
     inhabitants of this town elected the Trustees of their common
     lands, and the duties of those Trustees. “Att a towne meeting held
     this 29th day off Aprill, 1699, at Breucklyn, by order off Justice
     Machiel Hanssen, ffor to chose townsmen ffor to order all townes
     busines and to deffend theire limitts and bounds and to dispose and
     lay out sum part thereoff in lotts, to make lawes and orders ffor
     the best off the inhabitants, and to raise a small tax ffor to
     defray the towne charges, now being or hereaffter to come, to
     receive towns revenues and to pay townes debts, and that with the
     advice off the Justices off this said towne standing the space and
     time off two years. Chosen ffor that purpose by pluralitie off
     votes. Benjamin Vande Water, Joores Hanssen, Jan Garretse Dorlant.

By order of inhabitants afforesaid

J. VANDE WATER, Clarke.”

     These proceedings were recorded by order of the Court of Sessions,
     on the 9th day of May, 1699.

The following proceeding is curious, setting forth the ancient practice
of tradesmen cutting down timber in the public woods, and the
regulations made respecting the same. It appears that directly after the
Trustees were chosen by the above meeting they together with the
Justices, held the following meeting. “Att a meeting held this 29th day
off Aprill, (1699) in Breucklyn, Present, Benjamin Vande Water, Jooris
Hanssen, Jan Geritse Dorlant, being choisen townsmen in the presence and
with the advice off the Justices off this towne.

Considering the greate inconvenience, lose and intrest that the
inhabitants off this towne have by reason that the tradesmen here living
in this towne doe ffall and cutt the best trees and sully the best of
our woods and sell the worke thereoff made the most part to others
living withoute the towne, and that the shoemakers and others doe cutt
and fall all the best treese ffor the barke, and the wood lyes and rott,
and that some persons doe cutt and ffall trees for timber and ffensing
stuff, and leave the trees in the woods soe cutt until they are spoilt,
and that people off other towns come and cutt and fall trees ffor
timber, ffensing stuff, and ffire woods, and transport the same away out
off our townes bounds and limitts, and that without leave or consent off
the towne, soe that in the time off ffew yeares there shall bee no woods
leaved ffor the inhabitants ffor timber or ffensing stuff to the ruine
off the said towne. It is thereffore ordered, That ffrom the date
hereoff no tradesman shall make any worke ffor to sell to others
without thee towne, ffrom wood soe cutt as afforesaid as only ffrom old

That no shoemaker or others shall cutt or ffall any trees ffor to barke
in the common woods uppon the penaltie off ffive pound ffor every tree
soe cutt.

That no men shall leave any timber, ffensing stuffe, or other wood in
the woods longer as six weeks affter itt is cutt, uppon the penaltie,
that itt shall be ffree ffor others to take and carry the same away as
theire owne wood. And that iff any one off other townes shall be
ffounden within our townes limitts to cutt or carry away any sorts off
woods ffor timber, ffensing stuff or ffire wood, that itt shall bee
ffree ffor any one off this towne to take it away and to take out writ
to arrest, or to apprehend such offender or offenders presently, and
that the Justices off this towne shall answer the action as iff itt were
done by theire owneselves,[12] These proceedings were also recorded by
order of the Court of Sessions.

“Towne meeting held this 5th day off May, 1701, by order off Justices
Cornelis Sebringh and Machiell Hanssen. We the major part off the
ffreeholders off Breucklyn doe hereby nominate, constitute and appoint
Capt. Jooris Hanssen, Jacob Hanssen and Cornelis Van Duyn, to bee
trustees of our Common and undivided lands, and to deffend and maintaine
the rights and privileges off our General pattent, as well within as

“Towne meeting held this 2d day off February, 1701-2, by order off
Justice Cornelis Sebringh. Purposed iff the order off Bedford, made the
12th day off April, 1697, shall bee conffirmed concerning the lying out
of the common or undivided lands or that the said land shall bee lyed
out according to the last tax, concerning the deffending off our

Resolved by the ffreeholders aforesaid, that the chosen townsmen shall
ley out the commens according as by the said order off Bedford was
concluded, with the ffirst opportunitie, and that all the lotts joyning
to the common woods shall be surveyed according to their grants.”

The following Resolution was passed for defending those inhabitants to
whom portions of the Common lands were allotted, in their enjoyment of
the same. “Att a Towne meeting held att Brookland, in Kings County, this
14th day of March, 1701-2. Present, Machiel Hanssen, Cornelis Sebringh,
and Hendrick Vechten, Esquires, Justices.--Resolved, by the major part
of the freeholders of the said towne of Brookland, that every man that
has now a right, lott, or lotts laid out in the quondam Common and
undivided lands of Brookland aforesaid, shall forever free liberty have
for egress and regress to his said lotts for fetching off wood or
otherwise, over all or any of the said lott or lotts of the said
freeholders in the lands aforesaid. And further, that if any of the said
freeholders shall at any time or times hereafter, come by any loss or
trouble, cost or charges by lawe or otherwise, of, for or concerning the
title of any of their said lott or lotts, by any person or persons,
either within the township of Brookland afforesaid, or without, that it
shall be defended and made goode, (if lost) att all the proper costs and
charges of all the freeholders of said towne equally.”

It appears that all the Common lands of this town had been divided among
the freeholders, and a portion annexed to each house in the town.--A
deed dated the 17th of April, 1705, after conveying a house and lot of
land in this town, conveys “alsoe all the rights and priviledges in the
common woodlands of the towne of Broockland aforesaid, to said house,
belonging as per record of said towne may appear.[13]

These lands, in the month of February, 1701-2, were surveyed by Pieter
Corteljeu and S. Clowes, two surveyors, and divided by them into three
divisions. The first or west division consisted of 62 lots, containing
about 5 acres each, about 310 acres. The second or middle division of 62
lots, containing about 10 acres each, about 620 acres; and the third or
east division also of 62 lots, containing about 10 acres each, about 620
acres.--Total number of acres about 1550.


The difference between this town and the city of New-York, having been
treated of under the head of Town Rights and Ferries, the compiler will
confine himself to the disputes which formerly existed between this
town, and the towns of Bushwick, Flatbush and New-Utrecht, respecting
their bounds.

The following proceeding relates generally to the defence and settling
of the limits of this town.

“Towne meeting held this 7th day of February, 1701-2, by order of
Hendrick Vechten, Justice.--The Justice Hendrick Vechten, brings in that
the towns men were nott well authorised concerninge the lying out and
defending of our bounds by reason that they have no power to compounde
or agree with any of the neighbouring townes, &c.--These are
thereffore, that the freeholders and inhabitants doe give full power to
the said Intrusties, for to agree and compounde with any of the
neighbour townes concerning our bounds, and all what our said Intrusties
shall doe and agree with them, we shall stand to itt.” This proceeding
was recorded by order of the Court of Sessions, on the 13th of May,


The difference as to the bounds of these two towns seems generally to
have been contested between individuals. The following is the only
general order on record respecting the same:

     At a Court of Sessions, held at Flatbush for Kings County, May 10,
     1699. “Uppon the desire of the inhabitants of Breucklyn, that
     according to use and order every three yeare the limmitts betweene
     towne and towne must be runn, that a warrant or order may be given,
     that upon the 17th day off May, the line and bounds betwixt said
     townes of Breucklyn and Boswyck, shall be runn according to their
     pattents or agrements.” Ordered, “That an order should be past
     according to theire request.


The dispute between this town and Flatbush, respecting their bounds,
appears to have been of more importance than that with any other place,
excepting New-York.

At a Court of Sessions, held for the West Riding of Yorkshire, upon
Long-Island, the 18th of December, 1678, the following order was made:

     “There being some difference between the townes of Flat Bush and
     Breucklyn concerning their bounds, the which they are both willing
     to refer to Captain Jaques Corteleou and Captain Richard Stillwell
     to decide. The Court doth approve thereof, and order their Report
     to be determinative.”

     Messrs. Cortelyou and Stillwell complied with the requisition of
     the above order as will appear by the following report: but
     subsequent disputes shew that the same was not “determinative.”

     “To the worshipfull Court of Sessions, now sitting at Gravesend,
     June 21, 1683. These may certiffie that in obedience to an order
     from said Court, and by consent of both towns of Breucklyn and
     Flattbush, to runn the line betwixt the said townes which are we
     underwritten have done and marked the trees betwixt towne and
     towne, as wittnesse our hands the daye and yeare above written.


It appears by the following Certificate, that a subsequent survey was
made in 1684, of the division line between this town and Flatbush.

     “To satisffie whom itt may concerne, that I being with Mr. Jacobus
     Cortland, about the twentyeth day off November, 1684, imployed by
     Breuckland and Fflackbush, to vew and run out the line betweene the
     two towns to the south of the hills found that the line run
     fformerly by Capts. Jacques Cortelyou and Mr. Stillwell, is right
     and just, which wee both being agreed, gave in our approbation of
     the same.

PHILIP WELLS, Surveyor.”

     Staaten-Island, in the County of Richmond,} this 4th day of Aprill,

The above Certificate was recorded by order of several of the
inhabitants of Brooklyn.

At a Court of Sessions for Kings County, held the 4th day of October,
1687, the following proceeding was had:

     “Complaint off Jan Oake, and Cornelis Barduff, authorised by the
     inhabitants of Fflackbush being read against Pieter Cronwer,
     concerning the building uppon the land in question, betwixt
     Breucklyn and Fflackbush, Itt is ordered, that none off the partys
     shall meddle themselves with the said land before the question off
     the said land shall be finished.”

December 4, 1689. Jooris Bergen, Jan Dorlant and H. Claes Vechte,
Commissioners of this town, together with Jurrian Bries, Constable,
granted to Jeronimius Remsen, a piece of land lying at Bedford, in lieu
of a piece of land which they had formerly sold him, lying at the Port
or entrance, and which was claimed by the town of Flatbush.

At a town meeting, held in this town the 11th day of April, 1702, by
order of Justices Machiel Hanssen, and Cornelis Seberingh; it was

“Purposed to choise townsmen, in place off George Hanssen, Jacob
Hanssen, and Cornelis Van Duyn, by cause theire times being past the
29th off this instant. Resolved to prolong the old townsmen’s time to
the twenty-fifth off May next, by reason they are in action off lawe
with them off Fflackbush, to be tryed this May court.”

The differences between these two towns have been amicably settled, and
proper monuments placed on the boundary lines, to prevent, if possible,
all future disputes.


February 14, 1702. George Hansen, Jacob Hansen and Cornelius Van Duyn,
Trustees on the part of the town of Brooklyn, and Cornelius Van Brunt,
Peter Cortelyou, and Aert Van Pelt, Trustees on the part of the town of
New-Utrecht, entered into an agreement, which, after setting forth the
said Trustee’s powers to enter into the same, proceeds to say, “that the
courses and lines hereafter specified shall be the exact bounds between
the said two towns of Brookland and New Utrecht and soe to continue to
perpetuity without any alteration; viz. The bounds to begin in the
sloott or pond lying and being by and between the house of Agyes
Vandyke, of the said towne of Brookland and the house of Thomas Sharax,
of the said towne of New-Utrecht, where the water runns into the salt
water River, by a certaine fence from thence stretching away south-east
one degree southerly, two hundred eighty and eight English rod, to a
winter white oake tree markt on the south and north-west side; and from
thence running east eight and twenty degrees northerly to a white oake
tree, being on the east side of the path leading to New-Utrecht
aforesaid, to the Gowanos soe called in the towneship of Brookland
abovesaid, said tree being markt on two sides, and being formerly the
old markt tree betweene the said townes, &c.”

At the time of the execution of the above-mentioned agreement, the
Trustees of the town of Brooklyn, gave a bond to the Trustees of the
town of New-Utrecht, in the sum of one thousand pounds “currant money of
New-Yorke.”--The condition of which Bond or obligation was, “That if the
above bounden George Hansen, Jacob Hansen and Cornelius Van Duyne,
severally and their severall heires and assigns, doe and shall from time
to time and at all times hereafter, well and truly observe, performe and
keepe, all and every the covenants, articles of agreements, which on
their and every of their parts, are or ought to be observed, performed
and kept, contained and specified in and by certain articles of
agreements of the date hereof and made betweene the above bounden George
Hansen, Jacob Hansen and Cornelius Van Duyn of the one part, and the
above-named Cornelius Van Brunt, Peter Cortilleou and Aert Van Pelt of
the other part, of, in and concerning the limmitts and bounds of their
townes pattents, and that in and by all things according to the true
meaning of the said articles of agreement in such wise that no breache
be made of the premises in said articles of agreement by the towne of
Brookland aforesaid, at any time or times hereafter, then this
obligation to be void and of none effect, otherwise to stand and remain
in full force, virtue and power in law.”

In the year 1797, a survey was made of all the bounds of this town, and
a map thereof transmitted to the Surveyor General of this state.


This town had a full share of the military operations during the
Revolutionary war; and was for a long time in the possession of the
British army. It is covered with the remains of fortifications which
were thrown up by the Americans[14] and English for their defence
against each other. In this town was fought the most sanguinary part of
the battle of Long-Island, August 27, 1776; which took place on the
retreat of the American army within their lines, and the attempt of a
portion of them to ford the mill ponds at Gawanos; in which attempt
nearly the whole of a Regiment of young men from Maryland were cut off.

Many of the minor events connected with this battle, and the
Revolutionary contest, are fast sinking into the shades of oblivion:
the compiler has therefore thought proper to give place to the following
piece of history, not with an idea, that he can immortalize any event
which he relates; but with a hope, that his efforts will call forth some
nobler pen to do justice to the memories of many of the almost forgotten
heroes of those hard fought battles, and arduous contests. In the battle
above-mentioned, part of the British army marched down a lane or road
leading from the Brush tavern to Gowanos, pursuing the Americans.
Several of the American riflemen, in order to be more secure, and at the
same time, more effectually to succeed in their designs, had posted
themselves in the high trees near the road. One of them, whose name is
now partially forgotten, shot the English Major Grant; in this he passed
unobserved. Again he loaded his deadly rifle, and fired--another English
officer fell. He was then marked, and a platoon ordered to advance, and
fire into the tree; which order was immediately carried into execution,
and the rifleman fell to the ground, dead. After the battle was over,
the two British officers were buried in a field, near where they fell,
and their graves fenced in with some posts and rails, where their
remains still rest. But for “an example to the rebels,” they refused to
the American rifleman the rites of sepulture; and his remains were
exposed on the ground, till the flesh was rotted, and torn off his bones
by the fowls of the air. After a considerable length of time, in a heavy
gale of wind, a large tree was uprooted; in the cavity formed by which,
some friends to the Americans, notwithstanding the prohibition of the
English, placed the brave soldier’s bones to mingle in peace with their
kindred earth.

August 28, 1776. Before day break, in a very thick fog, General
Washington retreated with his army from near the old ferry, Brooklyn, to
New-York. As the last boat of the Americans left the shore, the fog
dissipated, and the British made their appearance on the hills above the
place of embarkation, when a shot or two from an American Battery on the
hill near the house of Col. Henry Rutgers, in New-York, compelled the
British to desist in their march to the ferry.

A short time after the retreat of the Americans, Captain Hale, of the
American army, was dispatched by General Washington, to see if the
English had taken possession of his camp at Brooklyn, and what their
situation was. This unfortunate young officer was taken by the English
and hung as a spy, without even a form of trial; and not allowed a
clergyman at his execution. It is believed he was executed somewhere
along the Brooklyn shore, to the south-west of the old ferry. In our
pity for Major Andre, we have almost entirely lost sight of this
meritorious officer, whose claims on our gratitude ought ever to be
remembered, in proportion as his sufferings were greater than those of
the former.

During the stay of the American army on Long-Island, the head quarters
of General Washington were at the house on Brooklyn heights, now owned
and occupied by Henry Waring, Esq. The house now owned and occupied by
Teunis Joralemon, Esq. was used by the English as a Hospital during the
Revolution, and in its vicinity, hundreds of British soldiers and
sailors are buried.

Most of the records of this town were destroyed by the English when they
came in possession of it after the battle of Long-Island.

In the month of November, 1776, one of the British prison ships, called
the Whitby, was moored in the Wallaboght, near Remsen’s mills. On board
this vessel great mortality prevailed among the prisoners, and many of
them died. Those of the prisoners who died from this ship, and from the
others, which were afterwards brought to this place, were interred in
the hill at the present Navy-Yard; where their remains were found, and
in the year 1808, deposited in a vault erected for that purpose. March
1777, two other prison ships anchored in the Wallaboght, one of which
bore the name of Good Hope; which vessel in the month of October, in the
same year, took fire and was burnt. The prisoners were saved and
transferred to the other vessels.--The hull of this ship lies under a
dock at the Navy Yard, in this town. In the month of February, 1778, on
a Sunday afternoon, another British prison ship was burnt in the
Wallaboght. The hull of this vessel lies in the mud in that Bay. 1778,
the Jersey ship of the line, having arrived at New-York, was condemned
as unfit for the service, and converted into a prison ship. As such she
anchored in the Wallaboght during the month of April, in the same year,
together with the Falmouth and Hope, for Hospital ships; where they
remained till the close of the Revolutionary war.

October 22, 1779, An act of attainder was passed by the Legislature of
this State, against John Rapalje, Esq. of this town, by which his
property was confiscated to the use of the State. That part of his
property lying within the bounds of the present village of Brooklyn, was
on the 13th of July, 1784, sold by the Commissioners of Forfeitures, to
Comfort, and Joshua Sands, Esqrs. for £12,430.

In the year 1780, the British being apprehensive of an attack from the
American army under General Washington, commenced fortifying the high
grounds about Brooklyn; which works they continued until the peace in
1783. In this town the British had their army yard, where their forage
department, and blacksmith’s shops, &c. were kept. The entrance to this
yard was near the junction of Main-street with Fulton-street, in the
present village of Brooklyn.

During the Revolution, this place was much resorted to by the officers
of the English army, and the fashionables of the day, as a scene of
amusement. In the Royal Gazette of August 8th, 1781, published at
New-York, Charles Loosley advertises a Lottery of $12,500, to be drawn
at “Brooklyn Hall.” The same paper contains the following advertisement:
“Pro bono publico. Gentlemen that are fond of fox hunting, are requested
to meet at Loosley’s Tavern, on Ascot Heath, on Friday morning next,
between the hours of five and six, as a pack of hounds will be there
purposely for a trial of their abilities: Breakfasting and Relishes
until the Races commence.--At eleven o’clock will be run for, an elegant
saddle, &c. value at least twenty pounds, for which upwards of twelve
gentlemen will ride their own horses.--At twelve, a match will be rode
by two gentlemen, Horse for Horse.--At one, a match for thirty guineas,
by two gentlemen, who will also ride their own horses.--Dinner will be
ready at two o’clock, after which, and suitable regalements, racing and
other diversions, will be calculated to conclude the day with pleasure
and harmony. Brooklyn Hall, 6th August, 1781.”

Lieutenant Anberry, in a letter from New-York, to a friend in England,
dated October 30th, 1781, says, “on crossing the East River from
New-York, you land at Brooklyn, which is a scattered village, consisting
of a few houses. At this place is an excellent Tavern, where parties
are made to go and eat fish; the landlord of which has saved an immense
fortune this war.” The public house referred to in the above
advertisements, and letter, was the same house, which after the
Revolution, and in the Compiler’s recollection, was called the
“Corporation House.” It was a large, gloomy, old fashioned, stone
edifice; and was destroyed by fire, September 23d, 1812.

This town was left by the British troops, the same day that they
evacuated New-York.


The first public officer appointed by the Dutch Government for this town
after its settlement in 1625, was a “Superintendant,” whose duties were
to preserve the peace, and regulate the police of the town. A few years
after the office of Superintendant was abolished, and the offices of
Schout, Secretary, and Assessor, created; these officers were also
appointed by the Governor. In 1646, the town having considerably
increased, the inhabitants were permitted to elect two magistrates;
subject, however, to the approval or rejection of the Governor. These
magistrates had increased powers: they were authorised to give judgment
in all cases as they might think proper; provided that the judgment so
given be not contrary to the charter of New-Netherland. Subsequently
this Town Court was new modelled by the Dutch Government, and its power
and authority more clearly defined.

The inhabitants suffering very much under the arbitrary exercise of
power on the part of the government, frequently remonstrated against the
same. Finally a convention of delegates from this, and the other towns
under the Dutch government assembled at New Amsterdam, November 26th,
1653, on an invitation from the Governor. Where they, on the 11th of
December, following, entered into a remonstrance against the exclusion
of the people from their share in legislation, and generally against
their mode of government. The Governor and his Council sent them no
answer, but entered one on the minutes; in which they denied the right
of this town, Flatbush, and Flatlands, to send deputies, and protested
against the meeting, notwithstanding the same was held at the Governor’s
request. Entertaining a just sense of the responsibility attached to
them, the deputies made another, but ineffectual attempt, to obtain a
recognition of their rights, and on the 13th of the last mentioned
month, presented another remonstrance, in which they declared, that if
they could not obtain them from the Governor and Council, they would be
under the necessity of appealing to their superiors, the States
General.--The Governor in a fit of anger dissolved their meeting, and
sent them home.

In 1654, it appears that the country was very much infested with
robbers; to disperse whom, April 7, 1654, the magistrates of this town,
together with those of Midwout and Amersfort, united in forming a
company of soldiers to act against “robbers and pirates,” and determined
that there should be a military officer in each town, called a Sergeant.

In order to prevent the depredations of the Indians, the Governor in
1660, ordered the inhabitants of Brooklyn to put the town in a state of
defence; and commanded the farmers to remove within the fortifications,
on the pain of forfeiting their estates.[15]

For the first two or three years under the English government, the
magistrates of this town were but temporary officers. Nearly all that we
know about the government previous to 1669, is, that Town Courts were
established in this Colony.--The inference would be, that as this town
was granted “all the rights and privileges belonging to a town within
this government,” a town Court was also organized here.

The Town Clerk of this town was appointed by the Governor, and confirmed
by the Court of Sessions, as will appear by the following record: At a
Court of Sessions held at Gravesend for the West Riding of Yorkshire
upon Long-Island, December 15, 1669. “Whereas Derick Storm presented an
order from his Hon. the Governor, for the approbation of the Court of
Sessions, to allow him to be towne clerk of Breucklen, taking his oath,
the Court having allowed thereof, and doe hereby confirme him of Clerke
of the said towne.”

In the year 1669, the first mention is made in the records of the
“Constable of Breucklen;” which office at that period was held by
Michael Lenell. The duties of constable as laid down in the Duke’s laws
were, holding town courts with the overseers, and with them making
assessments, &c. whipping, or punishing offenders, raising the hue and
cry after murderers, manslayers, thieves, robbers, burglarers; and also
to apprehend without warrant such as were overtaken with drink,
swearing, Sabbath breaking, vagrant persons, or night walkers;
“provided they bee taken in the manner, either by the sighte of the
constable, or by present informacon from others; as alsoe to make
searche for all such persons either on ye Sabbath daye, or other, when
there shall bee occation in all houses licensed to sell beere or wine,
or any other suspected or disordered places, and those to apprehend and
keepe in safe custody till opportunity serves to bring them before the
next Justice of ye Peace for further examinacon.” The Constable was
chosen out of the number of Overseers, whose term of service had

The following is a list of the Constables of Brooklyn, from 1669 to

  1669. Michael Lenell.
  1671. Lambert Johnson.
  1675. Andries Juriaensen.
  1676. Cornelius Corsen.
  1678. Thomas Lambertse.
  1679. John Aeresen.
  1680. Andries Juriaensen.
  1682. Martin Ryersen.

Brooklyn and Newtown were ordered to make a new choice according to law.

  1683. Jan Cornelis Dam.
  1684. Thomas Ffardon.
  1687. John Aertsen.
  1688. Volkert Andriese.
  1689. Jacobus Beavois.
  1689. Jurian Bries.
  1690. Jurian Hendrickse.

Shortly after the conquest of this Colony by the English from the Dutch,
the towns of Brooklyn, Bushwyck, Midwout, or Flatbush, Amersfort, or
Flatlands, and New-Utrecht, were formed into a separate district for
certain purposes, by the name of the “Five Dutch towns.” A Secretary was
specially appointed for these five towns, whose duties appear to have
been confined to the taking acknowledgment of transports, and marriage
settlements, and proof of wills, &c. This office in 1674, was held by
“Nicasius De Sille, in the absence of Sr Ffrancis De Brugh.” This same
Mr. De Sille, was in authority under the Dutch government, in the year
1658, as Schout of the city of New-Amsterdam. He was styled, “Heer
Nicasius De Sille.” There was no uniformity in the title of those
acknowledging officers of the Five Dutch towns. In 1675, Machiel
Hainelle exercised that office, and styled himself “Clerk.” In the same
year the Court of Sessions for this Riding, after setting forth the
appointment of Hainell, and calling him “Secretary,” said, “It is the
opinion of the Court that for what publique or private business he shall
doe he ought to have reasonable satisfacon.[16]

There were also in this town, officers, who were called “Overseers.” The
Duke’s Laws provide for their appointment in the following manner.
“Overseers shall be eight in number, men of good fame, and life, chosen
by the plurality of voyces of the freeholders in each towne, whereof
foure shall remaine in their office two yeares successively, and foure
shall be changed for new ones every yeare; which election shall preceed
the elections of Constables, in point of time, in regard the Constable
for the yeare ensuing, is to bee chosen out of that number which are
dismist from their office of Overseers.”

The following is a copy of the oath which was administered to the
overseers elect.

     “Whereas you are chosen and appointed an Overseer for the Towne of
     Breucklen you doe sweare by the Ever-living God, that you will
     faithfully and diligently discharge the trust reposed in you, in
     relation to the publique and towne affaires, according to the
     present lawes established, without favour, affection or partiality
     to any person or cause which shall fall under your cognizance; and
     at time when you shall bee required by your superiors to attend the
     private differences of neighbours, you will endeavour to reconcile
     them: and in all causes conscientiously and according to the best
     of your judgment deliver your voyce in the towne meetings of
     Constable and Overseers. So helpe you God.” These officers were
     commonly sworn by the Court of Sessions; but in the year 1671, the
     Constable of Newtown objected to the Court’s swearing the overseers
     of that town, “alledginge that accordinge to the amendments of the
     law iff special occation required, itt is in the power of the
     Constable to sweare them, otherwise not, which is left to his Honor
     the Governor to decide.” The inhabitants of the town for which the
     overseers were elected were authorised to determine by a major vote
     whether the said overseers should, on admission to office, take the
     oath prescribed as above; and in case the said overseers were not
     sworn, it was a legal objection against their proceedings on the
     part of any person prosecuted in their court, unless the overseers
     immediately on objection being made, took the oath, which the
     Constable was permitted to administer.

     It was the duty of the overseers, together with the Constable, to
     hold Town Courts, for the trial of causes under £5. Their other
     duties are contained in the following summary. On the death of any
     person, they were to repair with the Constable, to the house of the
     deceased, and inquire after the manner of his death, and of his
     will and testament; and if no will was found, the Constable in the
     presence of the Overseers was, within 48 hours, to search after the
     estate of the deceased, and to deliver an account of the same in
     writing, under oath, to the next Justice of the Peace. They,
     together with the Constable made all assessments. If any Overseer
     died during his term, the rest of the Overseers by a major vote,
     made choice of another in his place; and if the person so chosen
     refused to serve, he forfeited the sum of £10, towards defraying
     the town charges. They were to settle the bounds of the town,
     within twelve months after the bounds were granted. They had the
     power of regulating fences. They were authorised together with the
     Constable to make choice of two out of the eight overseers of
     Church affairs.

     They and the Constable, were frequently to admonish the inhabitants
     “to instruct their children and servants in matters of religion,
     and the lawes of the country.” They, with the Constable, appointed
     an officer “to record every man’s particular marke, and see each
     man’s horse and colt branded.” The Constable and two of the
     Overseers were to pay the value of an Indian coat for each wolf
     killed; and they were to cause the wolf’s head to be “nayled over
     the door of the Constable, their to remaine, as also to cut of both
     the eares in token that the head is bought and paid for.”

The following is the only list that the Compiler could obtain of the
Overseers of this town.

  1671. Frederick Lubertse and Peter Perniedeare.
  1675. John Peterson Mackhike, and Jerome
  De Rapostelley.
  1676. Tunis Guis Bergen, and Thomas Lambertson.
  1679. John Harrill, and Martyn Reyandsen.
  1680. Symon Aeresen, and Michael Harsen.
  1683. John Aeresen, and Daniel Rapellie.

In the year 1683, the “Overseers” were changed to “Commissioners.” The
“act for defraying the publique and necessary charge of each respective
citty, towne, and county throughout this province; and for maintaining
the poore and preventing vagabonds.” Passed by the General Assembly of
this colony, November 1st, 1683, provides--“That annually and once in
every yeare there shall be elected a certaine number out of each
respective citty, towne, and county throughout this province; to be
elected and chosen by the major part of all the ffreeholders and
ffreemen; which certaine number so duely elected shall have full power
and authority to make an assessment or certaine rate within their
respective cittys, townes and countys annually, and once in every yeare,
which assessment and certain rate so established as aforesaid, shall bee
paid into a certaine Treasurer, who shall be chosen by a major part of
all the ffreemen of each respective citty, towne, and county; which
Treasurer soe duly chosen, shall make such payment for the defraying of
all the publique and necessary charges of each respective place
above-menconed, as shall bee appointed by the commissioners, or their
President, that shall be appointed in each respective citty, towne, and
county within this province, for he _supervising the publique affaires
and charge_ of each respective citty, towne and county aforesaid.” And
the said act proceeds further to say, “And whereas it is the custome and
practice of his Majesties realme of England, and all the adjacent
colonyes in America, that every respective county, citty, towne,
parrish, and precinct, doth take care and provide for the poore who doe
inhabit in their respective precincts aforesaid; Therefore it is
enacted, &c. That for the time to come the respective commissioners of
every county, citty, towne, parish, precinct aforesaid, shall make
provision for the maintainance and support of their poore

The following is a list of the Commissioners of this town from 1684, to
1690, inclusive.

  1684. Thomas Lambertsen, Randolph Emans,
  and John Aeresen.
  1685. Tunis Guis Bergen, and Daniel Rapalie.
  1686. Michael Hansen, and Jeromus De Rapalie.

The town made choice of Hansen and De Rapalie; and were ordered by the
Court of Sessions to make a new selection by the 12th of April, 1686,
and return the same to one of the Justices of the Peace for Kings

  1687. Adriaen Bennet, Thomas Lambertsen,
  and Tunis Guysbert.

The Court of Sessions ordered the town to make choice of a new
Commissioner in the place of Tunis Guysbert; which they according did,
and elected Jan Gerritsen Dorland.

  1688. Simon Aertsen, Micheal Hansen, and
  Claes Barense.

The Court of Sessions refused to swear Michael Hansen.

  1690. Joris Hansen, Hendrick Claasen, and
  Jan Gerbritse.

The office of “Commissioner” continued until 1703, when a “Supervisor”
was elected. The Supervisors of Kings County had their first meeting on
the first Tuesday of October, 1703; at which meeting Captain Joras
Hansen was the Supervisor from Brooklyn. The duty of the Supervisors
was, “to compute, ascertaine, examine, oversee and allow the contingent,
publick, and necessary charge of each county.” Two assessors were also
elected for this town, whose names were, Peter Garrabrantse, and John E.
Bennet; and one Collector. This is not the first mention of the
assessors and collectors of this town in our County Records. In 1688,
Michael Hansen, and Daniel Rapalie were chosen assessors, for the
purpose of assessing this town’s proportion of a tax of £308 8s 0d,
which was imposed on Kings County. It is the opinion of the Compiler,
that these were distinct officers from the Commissioners, whose duty it
was to assess the ordinary rates; and that these assessors were but
temporary officers, appointed to assess this particular tax. In 1699,
Jan Garretse Dorlant is mentioned as Collector of Brooklyn; and in 1701,
John Bybout held the same office.

In 1691, a majority of the freeholders of the town were impowered to
make orders for the improvement of their public lands; and annually to
elect three surveyors of highways. The duties of these svrveyors were to
amend and lay out highways and fences. The town meeting at which these
orders were made, and officers elected, were held by the direction, and
under the superintendance of one or more justices of the peace.

November 8, 1692. The court of sessions for Kings county, ordered that
each town within the county, should erect “a good pair of stocks, and a
good pound;” and that the clerk of the court should issue a warrant to
the constable of every town, requiring them to see this order complied
with “at their peril.” The following is a list of the constables of this
town, from the new organization of the colony in 1691, to 1711, as far
as the compiler has been able to ascertain the same:

  1693. Volkert Brier.
  1697. Volkert Brier.
  1698. Jacob Hansen. [This man was complained of by the last constable
for not making his appearance at court; and the sheriff was ordered to
summon him to appear at the next court.]

  1699. Jacobus Beauvois.
  1700. Cornelius Verhoeven.
  1701. Jacob Verdon.
  1702. Thomas Davies.
  1703. Thomas Davies.
  1704. William Brower.
  1705. Jacob Ffardon.[This constable refused to call a town meeting in 1706,
in compliance with the requisitions of a warrant he had received from
Justice Ffilkin, for the election of town officers; and the inhabitants
complained of him to the court of sessions, who ordered that a town
meeting should be held for the election of town officers, and that
Ffardon should hold over until a new constable was elected and sworn in
his stead.]

  1707. Abram Sleghter.
  1708. Cornelius Collier.
  1709. William Brower.
  1711. Thomas Davies.

For some time previous and subsequent to the year 1693, the colony was
in a very disordered state, arising probably from its new organization
after the revolution in Great Britain.

At the same period, both the civil and military governments in this town
and also in the county, were very unpopular. In order to support their
authority, the justices of the peace resorted to the exercise of very
arbitrary measures: arresting and confining many persons under the
pretence of their having uttered scandalous words against them, and the
government; by which proceedings they completely alienated the people’s
affections, and exasperated them to such a degree that they committed
many excesses: all which will appear by the following extracts from the

     “October 11, 1693, at a meeting of the justices of Kings county, at
     the county hall. Present, Roeleff Martinse, Nicholas Stillwell,
     Joseph Hegeman, and Henry Ffilkin, esqrs. justices. John Bibout, of
     Broockland, in the county aforesaid, we aver being committed by the
     said justices to the common jail of Kings county, for divers
     scandalous and abusive words spoken by the said John against their
     majesties justices of the peace for the county aforesaid, to the
     contempt of their majesties authority and breach of the peace; the
     said John having now humbly submitted himself, and craves pardon
     and mercy of the said justices for his misdemeanour, is discharged,
     paying the officer’s fees, and being on his good behaviour till
     next court of sessions, in November next ensuing the date hereof.”

In another instance, during the same year, in the month of October, in
the town of Bushwyck, a man named Urian Hagell, was imprisoned for
having said, on a training day, speaking jestingly of the soldiers, “Let
us knock them down, we are three to their one.” The justices called
these “mutinous, factious, and seditious words;” which, with the like,
appear to have been favourite terms with them. Again, in the same month
and year, Hendrick Claes Vechte, of the town of Brooklyn, was imprisoned
by the justices, on a charge of “raising of dissension, strife, and
mutiny, among their majesties subjects.” And May 8, 1694, two women of
Bushwick were indicted at the sessions, for having beat and pulled the
hair of Captain Peter Praa, whilst at the head of his company of
soldiers on parade. One of them was fined £3, and the cost, £1 19_s._
9_d._; and the other 40_s._ and the cost, £1 19_s._ 9_d._ In the last
mentioned year, (1694) Volkert Brier, constable of Brooklyn, was fined
£5, and the costs of court amounting to £1, by the sessions, “for
tearing and burning an execution directed to him as constable.”[18]
Brier afterwards petitioned the governor to have the fine remitted; a
copy of which petition is in the appendix, marked C.

This town with respect to legal matters was under the jurisdiction of
the court of sessions held at Gravesend, for the West Riding of
Yorkshire, upon Long-Island,[19] until the year 1683; when an act was
passed by the first legislative assembly of this colony, dividing the
province into counties, by which the ridings were abolished. The court
however continued to be held at Gravesend until 1686, when it was
removed to Flatbush, in conformity to an act of the colonial assembly,
passed in the year 1685. This town continued under the jurisdiction of
that court, and the court of common pleas, which was afterwards
established, until the close of the revolutionary war. At the close of
the war the courts were re-organized, and this town still continues
under their jurisdiction.


In 1816 the village of Brooklyn was erected out of the town, and
constituted a distinct government; thereby forming an _imperium in

The present government both of the town and village, approach as near a
pure democracy as that of any other place in this state. No business of
importance is undertaken without first having the sanction of a public
meeting. Here these sterling principles, that all power emanates from
the people, and that public officers are but public servants, are fully
recognized, and acted upon.

This head the compiler will divide into two divisions, in order to avoid
confusion: First, the Town Government, and second, the Village

_First--the Town Government._

The government of the town is administered by

A _Supervisor_, elected by the people, at the annual town-meeting, on
the first Tuesday of April. The duties of this officer are principally
confined to the apportionment of taxes, presiding at elections, &c. He
is also ex officio a commissioner of excise for granting tavern licenses
in the town, and the general guardian of the town rights. There is no
salary attached to this office: the supervisor receives a compensation
of two dollars per day, for attending the general meeting of the
supervisors of the different towns in the county, and a trifling amount
for granting licenses. The present supervisor is William Furman, esq.

A _Town Clerk_, also elected by the people. The duties of this officer
are to call special town meetings on the request of twelve freeholders,
record the proceedings of town meetings, and preserve the records of the
town. In 1698, Jacob Vandewater, town clerk of this town, received the
sum of £6 5_s._ for two years and six months salary.[20] In 1822, in
order to make the town clerk’s salary in some degree proportionate to
the increase of business, the town voted him a salary of $50. In 1824,
the town clerk’s salary was increased to $75. The office is at present
held by John Doughty, esq. who has been successively elected since the
year 1796.

Five _Assessors_, also elected by the people--whose duties are to assess
all real and personal estate liable to taxation within the town, and to
forward such assessment to the supervisors, that they may apportion the
amount of tax on the same. The present assessors are Messrs. John S.
Bergen, Richard Stanton, John Spader, Joseph Moser, and Andrew Demarest.
Their compensation is one dollar and twenty-five cents per day during
the time they are employed in making and completing the assessment.

There are also elected two _overseers of the poor_, Messrs. William
Cornwell, and Isaac Moser; one _constable and collector_, Mr. John
M’Kenney; two _constables_, Messrs. John Lawrence, and Samuel Doxsey;
and several other officers, whose names and duties will be set forth in
the subsequent parts of this work.

The judicial business of this town is at present transacted by three
_justices of the peace_, viz. John Garrison, John G. Murphy, and Samuel
Smith, esqrs. These magistrates are appointed by the judges of the
common pleas, and the supervisors of the county.

_Second--the Village Government._

April 12, 1816, the village of Brooklyn was incorporated by an act of
the legislature of this state. By this act the freeholders and
inhabitants are authorized annually to elect, on the first Monday of
May, “Five discreet freeholders, resident within the said village,
Trustees thereof;” and these trustees are authorized to appoint a
president and clerk. The first trustees, Messrs. Andrew Mercein, John
Garrison, John Doughty, John Seaman, and John Dean, were appointed by
the legislature, and continued in office until the first Monday of May,
1817; when the first election was made by the people, and they made
choice of Messrs. William Furman, Henry Stanton, William Henry, Tunis
Joralemon, and Noah Waterbury. The present trustees are Messrs. Joshua
Sands, John Doughty, Joseph Moser, John Moon, and Samuel James. Joshua
Sands, esq. president, and John Dikeman, esq. clerk of the board. The
president previous to 1824 received no salary; at present his salary is
$300. The clerk formerly received a salary of $100, which in consequence
of the great increase of business is now raised to $200. The powers of
the trustees are principally “to make, ordain, constitute, and publish,
such prudential by-laws, rules and regulations, as they from time to
time shall deem meet and proper; and such in particular as relate to the
public markets, streets, alleys, and highways of the said village; to
draining, filling up, levelling, paving, improving, and keeping in order
the same; relative to slaughter-houses, houses of ill fame, and
nuisances generally; relative to a village watch, and lighting the
streets of said village; relative to restraining geese, swine, or cattle
of any kind; relative to the better improvement of their common lands;
relative to the inspection of weights and measures, and the assize of
bread; relative to erecting and regulating hay-scales; relative to the
licensing of public porters, cartmen, hackney coachmen, gaugers,
weigh-masters measurers, inspectors of beef and pork, of wood, of staves
and heading, and of lumber; relative to public wells, pumps, and
reservoirs or cisterns of water to be kept filled for the extinguishment
of fires; relative to the number of taverns or inns to licensed in said
village; and relative to any thing whatsoever that may concern the
public and good government of the said village; but no such by-laws
shall extend to the regulating or fixing the prices of any commodities
or articles of provision, except the article of bread, that may be
offered for sale.” The powers of the trustees, in opening, regulating,
and widening streets, are enlarged and defined by an act passed by the
legislature of this state, April 9, 1824.

The board of trustees have the appointment of several officers. The
following is a list of the names of the officers at present holding
under them.

  John Lawrence, Collector.
  Samuel Watts,      }
  John Titus,        } Weighers
  Andrew Tombs,      }
  Robert W. Doughty, }
  Burdet Striker, Measurer.
  William A. Sale, Measurer of Lime.

Three village Assessors are also elected by the people, for the purpose
of making an assessment on which to apportion the village tax. The
present assessors are Losee Van Nostrand, Gamaliel King, and John D.

The Trustees, by an act passed April 9th, 1824, are constituted a Board
of Health. The President and Clerk of the Trustees are ex-officio
President and Clerk of the Board of Health. The salary of the President
of this Board is $150.

A Health Physician is appointed by the Board of Health; which office is
at present held by Dr. J. G. T. Hunt, with a salary of $200.

The duties of the Board relate to the general conservation of the Health
of the village.

As early as 1809, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in this
town, the inhabitants met together in consequence of repeated
solicitations from the Common Council of New-York, and after stating in
their proceedings, that “reports prevailed, that disease exists to an
alarming extent in the town of Brooklyn,” they appointed the following
gentlemen a committee “for the purpose of inquiring into the state of
the health of the inhabitants of said town, and to act as the case in
their opinion may require,” viz. William Furman, John Garrison, Burdet
Stryker, Henry Stanton, and Andrew Mercein. A sum of money was raised by
subscription to meet the expenses of this Committee.

In the year 1819, the Trustees, although not strictly invested with
power, yet feeling the necessity of acting with some degree of energy,
in order to quiet the fears of the inhabitants, arising from reports of
the existence of a pestilential disease in New-York, published an
address; in which they state, “that during this season of alarm, they
have not been unmindful of that part of their duty incumbent on them as
a _Board of Health_ for the village,” and that “measures have been taken
to obtain from time to time, a report of the state of health throughout
the village, that the inhabitants may be early apprised of any change
affecting their welfare.”


This head will be divided into three divisions--first, Churches; second,
Markets; and third Public Institutions.

_First, Churches._

The first Church established in Kings County was, October 13, 1654, when
the Rev. Joannes Theodorus Polhemus, a minister of the Dutch Reformed
Church, was _permitted_ by Governor Stuyvesant, to preach at Midwout,
(Flatbush) and Amersfort, (Flatlands).[21] The congregation was gathered
at this time; but the order of Governor Stuyvesant for building the
Church is dated December 15, 1654. February 9, 1655, the Governor
ordered the inhabitants of Brooklyn and Amersfort, which at that period,
together with Gravesend, were one congregation, to cut timber for the
erection of the Church at Midwout; which building was to be 60 feet in
length, 28 feet in breadth, and 14 feet in height below the beams.

In order to accommodate the four towns of Gravesend, Amersfort, Midwout,
and Brooklyn, the Governor ordered that Mr. Polhemus should preach every
Sunday morning at Midwout, and Sunday afternoons alternately at
Amersfort and Brooklyn.

In the year 1659, the inhabitants of this town applied to Governor
Stuyvesant for permission to call a minister for their congregation,
assigning as a reason for their application, the badness of the road to
Flatbush, the difficulty of attending divine service at New-York, and
the extreme old age and inability of the Rev. Mr. Polhemus to perform
his services at Brooklyn.

The Governor deemed the request reasonable, and sent Nicasius de Sille,
Fiscal of New-Netherland, and Martin Kregier, Burgomaster, of
New-Amsterdam, to this town, as a committee of inquiry, who reported in
favour of the application; whereupon the request of the inhabitants was
granted. The inhabitants prepared a call for the Rev. Henry Solinus,
alias Henricus Selwyn, from Holland, who was approved of by the classis
of Amsterdam, on the 16th of February, 1660, when the classis also gave
the Rev. Mr. Solinus a dismission, wishing him a safe and prosperous
journey by land and by water to his congregation in the New-Netherland.
The time of the arrival of this minister is not known. He was installed
in his church on the 3d of September, 1660, in the presence of the
Fiscal, and Burgomaster Kregier, by the order of Governor Stuyvesant,
who appears to have been at the head of the ecclesiastical, as well as
the civil and military government of the colony.

On the 7th of September, 1660, a letter was written to the Rev. Mr.
Polhemus, informing him of the installation of the Rev. Mr. Solinus in
the Church of Brooklyn, and thanking him for his labours and attention
to the Congregation. The letter was sent by a respectable person, to
whom the Rev. Mr. Polhemus returned his thanks for the attention which
the Church at Brooklyn had paid him, and furnished the messenger with a
list of the names of the Church members, twenty-five in number.

Mr. Solinus’ salary was 600 guilders per annum, equal to $200. Three
hundred guilders of which was to be paid by Brooklyn, and three hundred
by Father land, (Holland). Some time after, the inhabitants of Brooklyn
objected to raising their proportion of the salary; and May 25, 1662,
petitioned the Governor, that Mr. Solinus should reside among them;
setting forth as a reason, that if their minister resided with them more
people would go to church, and they would be better able to raise the
salary. Governor Stuyvesant, in order to accommodate this dispute,
proposed to pay 250 guilders towards Mr. Solinus’ salary, on condition
that he would preach in the Bouwery on Sunday afternoons.--This
arrangement appears to have been entered into, for a short time after
Mr. Solinus preached at the Bouwery half the time.

The Indians having on the 7th of June, 1663, attacked the town of
Esopus, burnt the same, and destroyed many of the inhabitants, and took
many prisoners; the event was communicated by Governor Stuyvesant to the
church at Brooklyn, in the following manner.

“As a sorrowfull accident and wilfull masacre has been committed by the
Esopus Indians, who have with deliberate design under the insidious
cover of friendship, determined to destroy Esopus, which they effected
or the 7th instant, killing and wounding a number of the inhabitants,
and taking many prisoners, burning the new town, and desolating the
place. Whereupon the congregation is directed and desired by his
Excellency the Governor General to observe and keep the ensuing
Wednesday as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer to the Almighty,
hoping that he may avert further calamities from the New-Netherlands,
and extend his fatherly protection and care to the country. And it is
further ordered, that the first Wednesday in every month be observed in
like manner. By order of the Director General, and Council, &c. Dated at
Fort Orange, June 26, 1663.” Wednesday the 4th of July, 1663, was
observed as a day of thanksgiving on account of a treaty of peace
having been made with the Esopus Indians, and the release of the
inhabitants who had been taken prisoners; and also for the success
obtained over the British, who attempted with flying colours to take
possession of all Long-Island for the King of England, which was
prevented by the timely arrival of the Dutch fleet.

On the 23d of July, 1664, the Rev. Henry Solinus took leave of his
congregation and sailed in the ship Beaver for Holland. After his
departure, Charles Debevoise, the schoolmaster of the town, and sexton
of the church, was directed to read prayers, and a sermon from an
approved author, every Sabbath day in the church, for the improvement of
the congregation, until another minister was called.

The first Dutch church in Brooklyn was built in the year 1666, although
a minister had been settled to preach here for some years previous.--A
second church was erected on the site of that built in 1666; which
second church continued standing until about 1810, when a new and
substantial church was erected on Joralemon-street, and the old one
taken down. This old church was a very gloomy looking building, with
small windows, and stood in the middle of the highway, about a mile from
Brooklyn ferry. In removing it the workmen discovered the remains of a
Hessian officer, who had been buried there in his uniform, during the
Revolutionary war.

The Dutch congregations on this Island formed but one church, although
they had different consistories.

The ministers under the Dutch government were not permitted to marry any
persons without making the marriage proclamation on three succeeding
Sabbaths in their churches. The same practice was observed after the
Colony came under the British government. The last mentioned government
however sold marriage licenses, which were granted by the Governor’s
Secretary in New-York, for the sum of eight dollars each. The
inhabitants generally preferred purchasing a marriage license, and thus
contributed to the revenue of the Governor and Secretary.

During the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Solinus, the marriage fees were not
the perquisite of the Minister, as appears by his account rendered by
him to the Consistory, on the 29th of October, 1662, when he paid over
to the consistory the sum of 78 guilders and 10 stivers, for fourteen
marriage fees received by him.

The following is a list of ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church, who
officiated in the church on this Island, (with the exception of
Polhemus, and Solinus,) taken from a manuscript of the Rev. Peter Lowe.

  Joannes Magapolensis, probably died       1668.
  Casperus Van Zuren,     do                1677.
  Clark,                  do                1695.
  William Lupardus,       do                1709.
  Bernardus Freeman,[22] from 1702, to      1741.
  Vincintius Antonides, from 1715, to       1744.
  Joannes Arondeus, probably died,          1742.
  Anthony Curtenius, from 1730, to          1756.
  Ulpianus Van Sinderen, from 1747, to      1796.
  John Casper Rubel, from 1760, to          1797.
  Martinus Schoonmaker, from 1785, to       1824.
[This venerable pastor was 88 years of age at his death; and a short
time previous, officiated in four congregations.]

  Peter Lowe, from 1787, to                 1818.

In the month of April, 1708, fifty-seven of the inhabitants of Brooklyn,
entered into an agreement (which is written in Dutch) to call a minister
from Holland, to preach in the church of this town. The elders of the
church at that time were, Daniel Rapalie, and Jores Hanse.

The salary of the Clerk of the Church in this town was formerly raised
by a tax on the whole town. At a town meeting, held February 1, 1568, It
was resolved, that the sum of £20 10s. should be raised, and paid into
the hands of the “church masters” for “the widow of Hendrick Sleght,
ffor 1 year and 8 months salary, and being Clarke off the churche.”

The following singular proceeding may be amusing to some readers, and
will serve to shew to what extremes, both the people and the magistrates
carried themselves in former times. Hendrick Vechte, Esq. a Justice of
the Peace, was presented at the Kings County Sessions, May 14, 1710, for
coming into the Brooklyn Church, on Sunday, August 10, 1709, “with his
pen and ink in his hand, taking of peoples names, and taking up one
particular mans hat up, and in disturbance of the minister and people in
the service of God, &c.” Vechte’s plea was that in obedience to an order
of the Governor he did go into the church as alledged, “to take notice
of the persons that were guilty of the forcible entry made into the
Church, that by Abram Brower, and others, by breaking of said Church
doore with force and arms, forcibly entering into said Church,
notwithstanding the forewarning of Mr. Freeman the minister, and his
people to the contrary.” The Court found that Justice Vechte was not
guilty of a breach of the peace, and discharged him. It must be
remembered that Justice Vechte was a member of the Court. There was a
considerable difference of opinion and many disputes among the
inhabitants of this town, and of the County, as to the right of the Rev.
Mr. Freeman to preach; into the merits of which controversy, it is not
to be expected that the Compiler can enter at this distant day.
Excepting the above proceeding of the Court, the only document which the
Compiler has been able to obtain relative to this controversy is a
letter from Henry Ffilkin, Esq. to the Secretary at New-York, which will
be found in the Appendix marked with the letter D.

     December 18, 1814, the Trustees of the Dutch Reformed Church of the
     town of Brooklyn were incorporated. At which time the following
     gentlemen were officers of the Church.

  Martinas Schoonmaker, } Ministers.
  Peter Lowe,           }


  Fernandus Suydam,
  Jeremiah Johnson,
  Walter Berry,
  John Lefferts.


  Jeremiah Brower,
  Abraham De Bevoise,
  Lambert Schenck,
  Abraham Remsen.

     The present officers of this Church are, Rev. S. S. Woodhull, D. D.


  Leffert Lefferts,
  David Anderson,
  Tunis Joralemon,
  Nehemiah Denton.


  Theodorus Polhemus,
  Adrian Hegeman,
  James De Bevoise,
  Adriance Van Brunt.

     September 18, 1785, an “Independent Meeting House,” was
     incorporated at this place. The officers of which were:

  John Matlock, Pastor,
  George Wall, Assistant,
  John Carpenter, Treasurer,
  George Powers, Secretary.


  William Bunton,
  Robert Steath,
  Barnard Cordman,
  John Emery,
  William Hinson.

Their place of worship was a frame building on what is now the
Episcopalian burying ground in Fulton-street. This congregation
continued but a short time, in consequence of the seceding of its
members to the Episcopalian Church, which was soon after established in
this place.

The first celebration of Divine Service after the manner of the
Protestant Episcopal church, in this town, subsequent to the Revolution,
was at the old brick house known as No. 40 Fulton-street, and now owned
by Mr. Abiel Titus.

About the year 1787, the Episcopal Church was established in Brooklyn,
under the pastoral care of the Rev. Mr. Wright, at the house on the
north-east corner of Fulton and Middagh-streets; which house was fitted
up with pews, &c.

April 23, 1787, “The Episcopal Church of Brooklyn” was incorporated. The
following are the names of the first


  Whitehead Cornell,
  Joseph Sealy,
  Aquila Giles,
  Mathew Gleaves,
  Joshua Sands,
  Henry Stanton,
  John Van Nostrand.

This congregation afterwards came into possession of the place of
worship before used by the Independent Congregation, and continued to
worship in that edifice until they erected the Stone Church called “St.
Ann’s Church,” on Sands-street.

June 22, 1795. The Episcopal Church in this town was re-organized and
incorporated by the name of “St. Ann’s Church.”

_Church Wardens._

  John Van Nostrand, and George Powers.


  Joshua Sands,
  Paul Durel,
  Joseph Fox,
  William Carpenter,
  Aquila Giles,
  John Cornell,
  Gilbert Van Mater,
  Robert Stoddard.

The congregation at the same time resolved, that Monday in Easter week
should be the time of their future elections for Church officers.

The stone church which was erected on Sands-street, has continued to the
present time: but is now in bad repair, in consequence of the walls not
having bee, properly erected. The Vestry passed a vote for erecting a
new church to front on Washington-street, the corner stone of which was
laid March 31, 1824. The new edifice is fast progressing, and promises
to be a great ornament to the place.

The present officers of St. Ann’s Church are,

Rev. Henry U. Onderdonk, Rector.

_Church Wardens._

William Cornwell, and Joshua Sands.


  James B. Clarke,
  Robert Bach,
  Adam Tredwell,
  Fanning C. Tucker,
  John H. Moore,
  Robert Carter,
  Losee Van Nostrand,
  A. H. Van Bokkelen,
  William Cornwell, Treasurer.

May 19, 1794, the “First Methodist Episcopal Church” in this town, was
incorporated. The Trustees at which period were,

  John Garrison,
  Thomas Van Pelt,
  Burdet Stryker,
  Stephen Hendrickson,
  Richard Everit,
  Isaac Moser.

The present Meeting-house of this denomination is erected on the site of
their first place of worship, on Sands-street; and is a neat, plain
edifice. The present officers are,

Rev. William Ross, Pastor in charge.


  John Garrison,
  Isaac Moser,
  William Foster,
  Jacob Brown,
  Andrew Mercein,
  George Smith,
  Isaac Nostrand,
  John G. Murphy,
  R. Van Voris.
  Isaac Moser, Treasurer.

January 12, 1818, The “African Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church in
the village of Brooklyn,” incorporated.

_First Trustees._

  Peter Croger,
  Israel Jemison,
  Benjamin Croger,
  John E. Jackson,
  Ceasar Sprong.

The place of worship of this congregation is a frame meeting house
situate on High-street.

March 13, 1822. The “First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn” was

_First Trustees._

  Jehiel Jaggar,
  Nathaniel Howland,
  Silas Butler,
  John B. Graham,
  Elkanah Doolittle,
  Joseph Sprague,
  Alden Spooner,
  George Hall,
  Charles H. Richards.

The corner stone of this church was laid, April 15, 1822. The Church is
situate on Cranberry-street; and is a very handsome brick building,
something in the Gothic style. The present officers are,

Rev. Joseph Sanford, Pastor.


  Zechariah Smith,
  Selden Gates.
  Ezra C. Woodhull.


  Alden Spooner,
  Edward Coope,
  Henry W. Warner,
  Elkanah Doolittle,
  George Hall,
  Nathaniel Howland,
  Benjamin Meeker,
  Joseph Sprague,
  Silas Butler.

  Elkanah Doolittle, President of the Board,
  Silas Butler, Clerk          do
  Nathaniel W. Sanford, Treasurer.

November 20, 1822. “St. James Roman Catholic Church,” incorporated.

_First Trustees._

  George S. Wise, Jun.
  Peter Turner,
  Patrick Scanlan,
  William Purcell,
  James Rose,
  Darby Dawson,
  William M’Laughlin.

The corner stone of this Church was laid, June 25, 1822. The edifice is
of brick, and approaches nearer to the Gothic architecture than any
other building in this town. It is yet unfinished. This is the first
Roman Catholic Church erected on Long-Island. The present Trustees are,

  ---- ----, President.[23]
  Peter Turner, Secretary,
  William Purcell, Treasurer;
  James Rose,
  Darby Dawson,
  William M’Laughlin,
  Patrick Scanlan.

October 15, 1823. The “First Baptist Church in Brooklyn” incorporated.


  Eliakim Raymond,
  Elijah Lewis,
  John Brown,
  Richard Poland,
  Charles P. Jacobs.

March 24, 1824. Rev. William C. Hawley was ordained Pastor of this
Church. This congregation have as yet, erected no building for public
worship; but assemble for that purpose in the District School room, No.

There are also in this town some of the denomination of Friends, and a
small congregation of Universalists; neither of which have established
places of public worship. The Universalists are under the pastoral care
of the Rev. William Mitchill, and assemble for Divine service in the
District School room, No. 1.

In the present year, this town purchased of Leffert Lefferts, Esq. a
small farm situate at the Wallaboght; a portion of which was set off for
a burying ground, and divided into convenient parcels; which were
allotted in the following manner to the different congregations
worshipping in the town, viz.

  No. 1. Dutch Reformed,
      2. Friends,
      3. Presbyterian,
      4. Roman Catholic,
      5. Methodist Episcopalian,
      6. Universalist,
      7. Episcopalian,
      8. Baptist,
      9. Common.

_Second, Markets._

A market was established in this town as early as the year 1676, which
will appear from the following order of the General Court of Assizes,
made in the month of October, 1675. “Upon proposall of having a fayre
and Markett in or neare this City. (New-York) It is ordered, That after
this season, there shall yearely bee kept a fayre and markett at
Breucklen near the ferry, for all grayne, cattle, or other produce of
the countrey, to be held the first Munday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, in
November; and in the City of New-York, the Thursday, Friday, and
Saturday following.”

Previous to the year 1814, there were two markets in this place; one of
which was situate at the foot of the old ferry-street; and the other at
the foot of Main-street. Both these markets were taken down in 1814.

At present we have no public market; the inhabitants are supplied from
several butcher’s shops for the sale of meat, and stands for vegetables,
scattered about in different parts of the village.--The people have been
for some time past endeavouring to obtain a public market, and the great
difficulty appears to be the location of a proper site. At a village
meeting, held June 26, 1824, the sum of $10,000 was voted to erect a
brick market house and Village Hall, with other offices. This amount it
was resolved, should be raised by a loan for not less than ten years, at
six per cent; and that the proceeds of the market arising from the
letting of stalls, &c. should be appropriated to paying the interest of
said loan; and that if in process of time there should be a surplus,
after paying the interest, the same should be converted into a sinking
fund for extinguishing the principal. These resolutions have not as yet
been carried into effect.

_Third, Public Institutions._

Of public institutions we have not many to boast--they may be strictly
confined to one Bank, a Fire Insurance Company, and an Apprentices’

The “Long-Island Bank” was incorporated, April 1st, 1824, with a capital
of $300,000, divided into six thousand shares of $50 each. The present
officers are, Leffert Lefferts, Esq. President, and D. Embury, Cashier.

The “Brooklyn Fire Insurance Company” was incorporated, April 3, 1824,
with a capital of $150,000, divided into six thousand shares of $25
each. The present officers of this institution are, William Furman,
President, and Freeman Hopkins, Secretary.

There is also in this village a branch of the “Equitable Fire Insurance
Company”; of which Abraham Vanderveer, Esq. is Agent.

The Apprentices’ Library Association, which has been formed but a short
time, promises to be of great benefit to the apprentices of the place,
by introducing among them, habits of reading and reflection, which, if
properly attended to, will enable them to support the honourable
character of good citizens.

The Library at present consists of about twelve hundred volumes, which
have been presented by different individuals. About one hundred
apprentices take books from it, regularly once a week.--This institution
was incorporated by an act of the Legislature, passed in November, 1824.
The present officers are,

Robert Snow, President; Thomas Kirk, Vice-President; Andrew Mercein,
Treasurer; Robert Nicholls, Secretary.

Under this head it may be proper to notice, that there are two Masonic
lodges in this town, and a Post office.

Fortitude Lodge, No. 81.--W. Levi Porter, Master.

Hohenlinden Lodge, No. 338.--W. Abiathar Young, Master.

The Post office is kept at No. 97 Fulton-street, by George L. Birch,
Esq. Post Master. The mail is carried daily (Sundays excepted) between
Brooklyn and New-York, and closes at Brooklyn at 8 A. M. and arrives at
4 P. M.


Within a few years this town, and particularly the village has increased
very rapidly. In 1814, the town of Brooklyn contained 3805 inhabitants;
and in 1816, the town contained 4402 inhabitants. In 1820, the census
was as follows, (being almost two thirds of the population of the

  White males, under 10 years of age,    876
      do.      between 10 and 16         376
      do.      between 16 and 26         717
      do.      between 26 and 45         961
      do.      between 45 and upwards    379
                                        ---- 3309

  White females, under 10 years of age,  876
      do.        between 10 and 16       398
      do.        between 16 and 26       705
      do.        between 26 and 45       961
      do.        between 45 and upwards  379
                                        ---- 3319
  Free blacks,                                657
  Slaves,                                     190

  Foreigners not naturalized,                 252
  Persons engaged in Agriculture,             264
    do.           in Commerce,                 67
    do.           in Manufactures,            497

The following account of the population of Kings County at different
periods, may not be uninteresting to many readers.

  The population of Kings County in   1731 was  2150
                                      1756      2707
                                      1771      3623
                                      1786      3966
                                      1790      4495
                                      1800      5740
                                      1810      8303
                                      1820     11187[24]

In 1706, There were 64 freeholders in the town of Brooklyn. In 1802,
their number had only increased to 86, as appears from the list of
Jurors at that period. In the year 1800, there were 253 votes given in
this town, at a contested election for assemblyman. In 1824, on the same
occasion 1013 votes were taken.

At the close of the Revolutionary war, the town of Brooklyn within the
bounds of the present village contained 56 buildings. In 1821, the
village contained 867 buildings; of which 96 were Groceries and Taverns,
and several store-houses.--These store-houses depend principally, on the
operation of the Quarantine laws, in the months of June, July and
August, for business. On the 23d of July in the same year, there were
lying at the wharves in this village, 13 ships, 9 brigs, 8 schooners,
and 14 sloops. July 1, 1824, there were lying at the wharves in this
village, 8 ships, 16 brigs, 20 schooners, and 12 sloops.

In 1822. 50 dwelling-houses were erected in this village. In 1823, 122
frame dwelling and 32 brick and brick front buildings were erected.
January 1, 1824, the village of Brooklyn contained 113 stone, brick and
brick front buildings. During the present year 143 frame dwelling-houses
have been built in this village.

The town contains 8 Ropewalks, which manufacture 1130 tons of cordage
annually; 4 Distilleries; 2 Spirits of Turpentine Distilleries; 1 Glue
factory; 1 Chain cable manufactory; 2 Tanneries; 2 White lead works; 1
Whiting manufactory; 1 Glass factory and 1 Furnace for casting iron. The
manufacture of Hats is conducted on a large scale in this place.

In the year 1703, a survey was made of “Broocklands improveable lands
and meadows within fence,” and the same was found to amount to 5177
acres. At that period the greatest holder of that description of land
was Simon Aersen, who owned 200 acres. In 1706, all the real and
personal estates of the town of Brooklyn were assessed at £3122 12s. 0d.
The tax on which was £41 3s. 7½d and the whole tax of the county £201
16s 1½d. In 1707, the real and personal estates of this town assessed at
£3091 11s 0d, The government tax on which, was for the same year £116 7s
3d, payable in two payments; and the whole tax of the county £448 3s 7d.
The present year, the real estate in this town was assessed at
$2,111,390. And the personal estate at $488,690; being considerably more
than one half of the whole value of the county. The State, county and
town tax on which amounts to $6,497 71. At this period there are in the
village 1149 taxable persons, and the village tax amounts to $2625 76,
averaging about $2 29, each taxable person. This village tax includes
$450 raised to meet the expenses of the Board of Health, and is
exclusive of all local assessments for opening and improving streets,

The receipts of the overseers of the poor of this town for the year
1823, amounted to $3108 77, and their expenditures to $3469 49, leaving
a balance of $360 72 against the town.

On the 22d of March, 1823, there were 54 persons in the Alms-house; 51
persons were admitted during the year ending March 30, 1824. During the
same period, 34 were discharged, and 10 died. March 30, 1824, there were
in the Alms-house 40 persons, viz. 11 men, 16 women, 5 girls, and 8
boys. In the winter of 1823-4, 93 loads of wood were distributed from
this institution among the poor of the town.[25]

April 21, 1701, a piece of land about 100 feet square, lying within the
present bounds of the village of Brooklyn, was sold for £75, “current
money of the Province of New-York.” 1720 a dwelling-house and lot of
ground containing 62 feet front, 61 feet rear, and 111 feet deep, near
the ferry, on the north-east side of what is now called Fulton-street,
sold for £260, “current money of New-York. In the year 1784, all the
property owned by the Corporation of the City of New-York in this town
was assessed at £365, New-York currency; which property is now worth
$50,000 at the lowest calculation.

August 30, 1701. John Bybon sold to Cornelius Vanderhove, for £37 10s,
the one equal half part of a brewhouse, situate at Bedford, in the town
of Brookland, fronting the highway leading from Bedford to Cripplebush;
together with one equal half part of all the brewing vessels, &c.

In 1685, a Windmill was erected in this town by John Vannise and Peter
Hendricks, for Michael Hainell. There is great reason to believe that
this was the first mill erected in this town. August 19, 1689, an
agreement was entered into between Cornelius Seberingh of Brookland, and
John Marsh of East Jersey, relative to building a water mill on
Graver’s kill in this town. At present there are in this town seven
water mills and two wind mills.--From February 16, 1823, to February 15,
1824, 5825 barrels of superfine flour, 260 barrels of fine flour, and
124 hogsheads of corn meal were inspected in this county. The most, if
not all of which flour and meal was manufactured at the mills in this


May 1661, Charles Debevoice was recommended by Gov. Stuyvesant as a
suitable person for schoolmaster of this town, and also for clerk and
sexton of the church, who was employed and received a good salary.

Immediately previous to the revolutionary war, that part of the town of
Brooklyn which is now comprised in the bounds of the village, and for
some distance without those bounds, supported but one school, of 19
scholars, five of whom were out of the family of Mr. Andrew Patchen. The
school-house was situated on the hill, on property which was then owned
by Israel Horsfield, but now belongs to the heirs of Carey Ludlow,
deceased.--The teacher was Benjamin Brown, a staunch whig from

_District School, No. 1._ This school was organized at a public meeting,
held Jan. 2, 1816, at which meeting Andrew Mercein, John Seaman, and
Robert Snow were elected trustees, and John Doughty clerk of the school.
The trustees were appointed a committee to ascertain a proper site for
building a school-house, and report the probable expense thereof. At a
meeting held January 12, 1816, the trustees reported that they could
purchase four lots of ground on Concord street, of Mr. Noah Waterbury,
for $550. The meeting thereupon resolved, that “the sum of $2000 should
be raised by tax on the inhabitants of the said district, to purchase
said lots and to build a school-house thereon;” and that in the mean
time the “Loisian school be the common school of the said district;” and
that “the trustees of the district be authorized to exonerate from the
payment of teacher’s wages all such poor and indigent persons as they
shall think proper, pursuant to the act of the legislature;” and that
“it be recommended by this meeting, that the common school to be taught
in this district, be on the Lancastrian plan of instruction.”

In the school of this district, which includes the village of Brooklyn,
upwards of 200 children are taught. The price of tuition does not exceed
four dollars per annum, and from that amount down to nothing, in
proportion to the abilities of the parent. The School District No. 1, at
present contains 1607 children between the ages of 5 and 15 years, of
whom 1157 go to the public or private schools.

In 1821 there were eight private schools in the village of Brooklyn.

In 1823 the town received from the state $418 13 for the support of
common schools.

The present officers connected with the common schools of the town are--

_Commissioners._ Jordan Coles, Robert Nichols, Josiah Noyes.

_Inspectors._ Charles I. Doughty, Evan Beynon, Robert Snow.

_Trustees of District School No. 1._ William Cornwell, Joseph Sprague,
Charles I. Doughty.--_Clerk_, Ralph Malbone.


Four Newspapers have been published in this town in the following
chronological order:

June 26, 1799. The first number of the “Courier, and New-York and
Long-Island Advertiser,” published by Thomas Kirk, Esq. This was the
first newspaper established on Long-Island.

May 26, 1806. The first number of the “Long Island Weekly
Intelligencer,” published by Mess’rs. Robinson and Little.

June 1, 1809. The first number of the “Long Island Star,” published by
Thomas Kirk, Esq.

March 7, 1821. The first number of the “Long Island Patriot,” published
by Geo. L. Birch, Esq.

In the month of November, 1810, proposals were issued by Benjamin F.
Cowdrey, & Co. for establishing in Brooklyn a weekly newspaper, to be
entitled “The Long-Island Journal, and American Freeman.” For some
reason unknown to the compiler this paper was not published.

During the month of May, 1820, Brockholst Livingston, jun. issued
proposals for publishing a weekly newspaper in this village, to be
entitled the “Long-Island Republican.” Not meeting with sufficient
encouragement, this attempt was abandoned.

The only two papers now in existence in this town, are “The Star,”
published by Alden Spooner, Esq. and the “Long Island Patriot,” by
George L. Birch, Esq.

_Moral Character._

It is a delicate subject for a writer to treat of the morals of a people
among whom he is a resident, lest by telling the truth too plainly, he
awaken unpleasant feelings in the breasts of some whom perhaps he would
not wish to offend. On the other hand, if glaring faults are slightly
passed over, or palliated, it calls down on his devoted head all the
envenomed attacks of malicious criticism. The compiler, however,
flatters himself that neither will be the case in this instance.

The people of Brooklyn, it is true, cannot be considered as rigid in
religious matters as the saints of Oliver Cromwell’s army, whose very
cannon had on the inscription of “O Lord, open thou our lips, and our
mouth shall shew forth thy praise!” But they are far from being
irreligious; the churches are well filled, religious societies are
liberally supported, vice discountenanced; and for the more effectual
suppression thereof, in 1815, a society for the suppression of vice and
immorality was formed, consisting of many of the most respectable
inhabitants of the town. By the exertions of our Sunday school
societies, attached to the different congregations, the morals of the
younger part of the community have been greatly reformed; and it is
highly gratifying to observe the improvement made in the general morals,
of the town, in consequence of their benevolent exertions.


Although this might with some propriety be placed under the head of
_Public Institutions_, the compiler has thought proper to make it a head
of itself; and he hopes that the following few historical facts relative
to this valuable department, may be useful to such as feel an interest
in its progression and improvement.

By an act passed by the legislature of this state, March 15, 1788, “for
the better extinguishing of fires in the town of Brooklyn,” the number
of firemen was limited to eight, who were nominated and appointed by the
freeholders and inhabitants of the fire district, which was comprised
within nearly the same bounds with the present village, In the year
1794 the sum of £188 19_s._ 10_d._ was raised by subscription in this
town, for purchasing a fire engine. On the 24th March in the following
year, an act was passed by the legislature “for the better extinguishing
of fires” in this town; by which act the number of firemen was increased
to thirty.

1796. The sum of £49 4_s._ was raised by subscription for purchasing “a
suitable bell for the use of the town of Brooklyn.” This is the present
fire bell.

March 21, 1797, an act was passed by the legislature “for the prevention
of fires, and for regulating the assize of bread, in the town of
Brooklyn.” This act authorised the inhabitants to choose not less than
three nor more than five freeholders, who might from time to time make
such prudential by-laws as they judged necessary, for the prevention of
fires by the burning of chimneys, and for sweeping and otherwise
cleansing the same. The inhabitants accordingly met on the second
Tuesday of May, in the same year, and appointed Mess’rs. Henry Stanton,
John Doughty, Martin Boerum, John Van Nostrand, and John Fisher, to
carry into effect the provisions of the above act. In the execution of
which duty the persons so appointed ordained, that from and after the
11th day of July, 1797, a fine of ten shillings should be levied on each
person whose chimney should take fire through carelessness, or be set on
fire for the purpose of cleansing; and that “all penalties shall be
received and recovered by the clerk of the fire company for the time
being, if he be one of the persons so chosen; if not, the said persons
elected shall nominate and appoint one of their number to serve for and
receive in the same manner that the clerk is at present authorised.”
From 1798 to August 6, 1806, the sum of £20 7s. was received for chimney

For a considerable length of time, this town had but one small fire
engine; they subsequently purchased another, which was called No. 2.
About 1810, No. 3. now styled the “Franklin,” was purchased by the
inhabitants of the Fire District. The Fire Department of the village at
present consists of four Fire Engines (of which three are new, namely,
Nos. 1, 2, and 4,) and a Hook and Ladder Company, viz.

No. 1, “Washington,” full complement 30 men, Foreman, Joshua Sutton.

No. 2, “Neptune,” full complement 30 men, Foreman, Gamaliel King.

No. 3, “Franklin,” full complement 30 men, Foreman, Jeremiah Wells.

No. 4, “Eagle,” full complement 30 men, Foreman, George Fricke.

Hook and Ladder Company, full complement 30 men, Foreman, John Smith.

There are also in the Navy Yard, two excellent Fire Engines, well
manned, and which, together with those from New-York, generously come to
our assistance when ever our place is visited by that dreadful calamity,

The receipts of the Fire Department, from 1794 to 1815, amounted to £898
10s. 1d. and the expenditures from July 7, 1795, to November 15, 1816,
amounted to £964 3s. 3d.

The office of Clerk and Treasurer of the Fire Department of this town,
was held by John Hicks, Esq. until 1796; at which time John Doughty,
Esq. was appointed, who held that office until the incorporation of the
village in 1816, when he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Fire
Department of the village, which office he held for one year. In 1817,
William Furman, Esq. was appointed Chief Engineer, and officiated in
that capacity until 1821, when, on the resignation of Mr. Furman, John
Doughty, Esq. was again appointed, and continues to hold the office. The
present officers of the Fire Department are,

John Doughty, Chief Engineer.

_Fire Wardens._ Joseph Moser, Edward Coope, Joseph Sprague.

April 16, 1823, an act was passed by the Legislature of this state to
incorporate the firemen of this village, by the name of the “Fire
Department of the Village of Brooklyn.” The act allows this corporation
to hold, purchase, and convey any estate, real or personal for the use
of the corporation; provided such real or personal estate shall not at
any time exceed the yearly value of $1000. The following officers were
appointed by the act of incorporation, viz.

  John Doughty, President.
  Joshua Sutton, Vice-President.
  Richard Cornwell, Secretary.

_Trustees._ Jeremiah Wells, Morris Simonson, Michael Trapple, Joseph
Moser, George Fricke, Gamaliel King, Simeon Back, Parshall Wells, George
L. Birch.

The laudable object proposed by this institution, is to raise a fund for
the relief of widows and children of deceased firemen.

By an amendment to the act of Incorporation of the village of Brooklyn,
passed April 9, 1824, it is provided, “That all fines and penalties
under any by-law of the said village, in relation to the burning of
chimneys, and for the preventing and extinguishing of fires, and also,
all fines and penalties either under such by-laws, or under any statute
of this state, in relation to the manner of keeping and transporting
gun-powder within the said village, shall be sued for in the name of the
said Trustees, (of the village of Brooklyn) by the fire department of
the said village, and when recovered shall be paid to the said fire
department, for their own use.”


June 7, 1625, Sarah De Rapalje, born in this town. Tradition says that
she was the first white child born in the colony. Her parents were
Walloons; from whence is derived the name of Wallaboght, or Walloons
Bay, where they lived.[26] She was twice married. Her first husband was
Hans Hanse Bergen, by whom she had six children, viz. Michael Hanse,
Joris Hanse, Jan Hanse, Jacob Hanse, Brechje Hanse, and Marytje Hanse.
Her second husband was Teunis Guysbertse Bogart, by whom she also had
six children, viz. Aurtie Bogart, Antje Bogart, Neeltje Bogart, Aultje
Bogart, Catelyntje Bogart, and Guysbert Bogart. The account of Sarah De
Rapelje in the archives of the New-York Historical Society contains the
names of the persons to whom eleven of her children were married, and
tells the places where they settled. The twelfth, Brechje Hanse went to

March 1, 1665, Hendrick Lubbertson and John Evertsen, appeared as
deputies from the town of Brooklyn, at the Assembly convened at
Hempstead, by order of Richard Nicolls, Deputy Governor under the Duke
of York; at which assembly the code of laws called the “Duke’s laws”
were adopted and published. In the appendix marked E. will be found the
address which these deputies, together with the others, sent to the Duke
of York; and which occasioned so much excitement in the Colony at that

1671, This town, with five other towns in the West Riding of Yorkshire
upon Long-Island, petitioned the Court of Sessions “for liberty to
transport wheate,” which petition was referred to the Governor.

1687. The Clerk’s office of Kings County was kept in this town, by the
Deputy Register, Jacob Vandewater, who was also a Notary Public in this
town at the same period. The Register, Samuel Bayard, Esq. resided in
the city of New-York.

About the year 1691, there was a custom prevalent in this town of
calling a widow the “last wife” of her deceased husband; and a widower
the “last man” of his deceased wife.

The following is an Inventory of the estate which a bride in this town
brought with her to her husband in the year 1691. The husband by various
records appears to have been a man of considerable wealth;
notwithstanding which, the following inventory was thought by both of
them, of sufficient importance to merit being recorded, viz.

“A half worn bed, pillow, 2 cushions of ticking with feathers, one rug,
4 sheets, 4 cushion covers, 2 iron potts, 3 pewter dishes, 1 pewter
bason, 1 iron roaster, 1 schuryn spoon, 2 cowes about five yeares old, 1
case or cupboard, 1 table.”

November 12, 1695, the Court of Sessions for Kings County, ordered that
the Constable of this towns, “shall on Sunday or Sabbathday take law for
the apprehending of all Sabbath breakers,” and “search all ale houses,
taverns and other suspected places for all prophaners and breakers of
the Sabbath daye,” and bring them before a Justice of the, Peace to be
dealt with according to law. This was to be done by the Constable under
the penalty of six shillings for each neglect or default.

The same Court also made an order, “that Mad James be kept by Kings
County in general, and that the deacons of each towne within the said
county doe forthwith meet together and consider about their propercons
for maintainence of said James.” This is the first instance which has
come to the compiler’s knowledge of the Court making an order for the
county generally to support a pauper.

In the year 1758, the sum of £122 18s. 7d. was assessed in two
assessments, by the Justices of the Peace, on this town, towards
building “a new Court house and gaol” for Kings County. The whole amount
assessed on the County was £448 4s. 1d.

The present Court house of Kings County, was built by contract in the
year 1792, at an expense of $2944, 71, under the superintendence of John
Vanderbilt, Johannes E. Lott, and Charles Doughty, Esq’rs. The
contractor was Thomas Fardon, and plans were furnished for the building
by Messrs. Stanton and Newton, and James Robertson.[27]



_Deed from William Morris and wife to the Corporation of New-York._

This Indenture made the twelfth day of October, in the sixth year of the
reign of our Sovereign Lord and Lady William and Mary, by the grace of
God, of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, King and Queen,
defenders of the faith, &c. and in the year of our Lord one thousand six
hundred and ninety-four, between William Morris, now of the ferry, in
the bounds of the town of Breuchlen, in Kings County, on Long-Island,
Gentleman, and Rebecca his wife of the one part, and the Mayor, Aldermen
and Commonalty of the City of New-York, of the other part, Witnesseth,
that the said William Morris, by and with the consent of Rebecca his
said wife, testified by her being a party to the sealing and delivery of
these presents, for, and in consideration of a certain sum of good and
lawful money to him, at and before the sealing and delivery hereof, by
the said Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty, in hand well and truly paid,
the receipt whereof he the said William Morris doth hereby acknowledge,
and thereof and therefrom and of and from all and every part thereof, he
doth hereby acquit, exonerate and discharge the said Mayor, Aldermen and
Commonalty, and their successors forever, hath granted, bargained, sold,
assigned, conveyed and confirmed, and by these presents doth grant,
bargain, sell, assign, convey and confirm unto the said Mayor, Aldermen
and Commonalty of the said city of New-York, and their successors
forever, All that messuage or dwelling house and lot of ground thereunto
adjoining and belonging, with the appurtenances, situate, lying and
being at the ferry, in the bounds of the town of Breucklen, in Kings
County aforesaid, now and late in the possession of him, the said
William Morris; as also one small house, now in the possession of one
Thomas Hock, lying in the said City of New-York, over against the ferry
aforesaid, Together with all and singular houses, barns, stables, yards,
backsides, wharfs, easements, benefits, emoluments, hereditaments, and
appurtenances to the same messuage or dwelling house and premises
belonging, or in any wise appertaining, and the reversion and
reversions, remainder and remainders, rents, issues, and profits of all
and singular the premisses and the appurtenances, and all the estate,
right, title interest, property, possession, claim and demand of him the
said William Morris and Rebecca his said wife, of, in, unto or out of
the said messuage or dwelling house and premises, or, of, in, unto, or
out of, all or any part or parcel thereof, and all and singular grants,
deeds, escripts, minuments, writings and evidences, touching, relating
to or concerning the above-mentioned, to be bargained, messuage or
dwelling house and all and singular, the premises with the hereditaments
and appurtenances to the same belonging, or any part thereof, unto the
said Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of New-York, aforesaid,
and their successors unto the only proper use, benefit and behoof of the
said Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of New-York aforesaid,
their successors and assigns forever. In witness, &c.[28]

_A Warrant for enforcing the payment of a town tax in the town of

Whereas there was an order or towne lawe by the ffreeholders of the
towne of Brooklyn, in Kings County aforesaid, the 5th day of May, 1701,
ffor constituting and appointing of Trustrees to defend the rights of
their quondam common wood lands, and to raise a tax ffor the same to
defray the charge of that and theire towne debts, &c. which said lawe
has bin since ffurther confirmed by said ffreeholders at a towne meeting
at Bedford, the 11th of Aprill, 1702, and since approved of and
confirmed by a Court of Sessions, held at Fflatbush, in said County the
13th day of May, 1702. And whereas by virtue of said lawe, a certaine
small tax was raised on the ffreeholders in said towne proportionably to
defray the charges aforesaid: And now upon complaint of the said
Trustees to us made, that A. B. has refused to pay his juste and due
proporcon of said tax wch amounts to _L_1 16s 0d, current money of
New-York. These are therefore in her Majesty’s name, to command you to
summons A. B. personally to be and appeare before us, &c., then and
there to answer C. D. E. F. Trustees of said towne of Brooklin, in an
action of tresspass on the case, to the damage of the said C. D. E. F.
_L_1 16s 0d, current money as aforesaid, as it is said, and have with
you then there this precept. Given, &c.


Brookland, November 14th, 1753. A Town meeting called by warrant of
Carel Debevois, Esq. and Jacobus Debevois, Esq. two of his Majesty’s
Justices for the township of Brookland, in the County of Kings, to elect
and chuse Trustees to defend our Patent of Brookland against the
Commonalty of the City of New-York.--And the Trustees so elected and
chosen by the freeholders and inhabitants of the township of Brookland
aforesaid, are as follows: Jacobus Lefferts, Peter Vandervoort, Jacob
Remsen, Rem Remsen, and Nicholas Vechte. And we the hereunder
subscribers being freeholders and inhabitants of the township of
Brookland, by these presents do fully impower and authorize the
abovesaid Trustees, Jacobus Lefferts, Peter Vandevoort, Jacob Remsen,
Rem Remsen, and Nicholas Vechte, elected and chosen by the freeholders
and inhabitants of the township of Brookland aforesaid, to defend our
patent where in any manner our liberties, privileges and rights in our
patent specified is incroached, lessened or taken away by the Commonalty
of the City of New-York. And that we hereunder subscribers of the
township of Brookland, oblige ourselves, our heirs, executors and
administrators to pay to the abovesaid Trustees, all cost that they are
at in protecting of the profits of our patent, and that money shall be
collected in by the constable of our town. And that the abovesaid
Trustees do oblige themselves to render upon oath a true account of all
such moneys they have expended in protecting or defending our patent, to
any person or persons, as the hereunder subscribers shall appoint for
that purpose. And in defending our patent so that verdict shall come in
our favour, where income of money or other profits should arise
concerning the premises, all such profits or income should be kept
towards defraying of all the necessary cost and charge of our township
of Brookland, till such time as it is altered by the majority. And that
the Trustees should have three shillings per day for their service and
no more.


_The Petition of Volkert Brier._

TO HIS EXCELLENCY.--The humble peticon of Volkert Brier, inhabitant of
the towne of Broockland, on the Island of Nassau.

May it please your Excellency your peticoner being fined five pounds
last Court of Sessions, in Kings County for tearing an execucon directed
to him as Constable. Your peticoner being ignorant of the crime, and not
thinking it was of force when he was out of his office, or that he
should have made returne of it as the lawe directs, he being an
illiterate man could not read said execucon nor understand any thing of
lawe: humbly prays yr Excellency yt you would be pleased to remit said
fine of five pounds, yr peticoner being a poore man and not capaciated
to pay said fine without great damage to himself and family. And for yr
Excellecy yr peticoner will ever pray, &c.


_A Letter from Justice Ffilkin to the Secretary at New-York._

SIR,--I am in expectation of a complaint coming to his Excellency by
Coll. Beeckman against me, and that his Excellency may be rightly
informed of the matter, my humble request to you is, that if such a
thing happen, be pleased to give his Excellency an account thereof,
which is as follows: A Ffriday night last, the Justices of the County
and I came from his Excellency’s; Coll. Beeckman happened to come over
in the fferry boat along with us, and as we came over the fferry, Coll.
Beeckman and we went into the fferry house to drink a glass of wine, and
being soe in company, there happened a dispute between Coll. Beeckman
and myself, about his particular order that he lately made to Mr.
Ffreeman, when he was President of the Councill, without the consent of
the Councill; Coll. Beeckman stood to affirm there, before most of the
Justices of Kings County, that said order, that he made then to Mr.
Ffreeman as President only, was still in fforce, and that Mr. Ffreeman
should preach at Broockland next Sunday according to that order;
whereupon I said it was not in fforce, but void and of noe effect, and
he had not in this County, any more power now than I have, being equall
in commission with him in the general commission of the peace and one of
the quorum as well as he; upon which he gave me affronting words, giving
me the lie and calling me pittifull fellow, dog, rogue, rascall, &c.
which caused me, being overcome with passion, to tell him that I had a
good mind to knock him off his horse, we being both at that time getting
upon our horses to goe home, but that I would not goe, I would fight him
at any time with a sword. I could wish that these last words had bin
kept in, and I am troubled that I was soe overcome with passion and
inflamed with wine. The works of these Dutch ministers is the occasion
of all our quarrells.[29] And this is the truth of the matter, there
was no blows offerred, nor noe more done. Mr. Ffreeman has preached at
Broockland yesterday accordingly, and the church doore was broke open,
by whom it is not yet knowne. Soe I beg your pardon ffor this trouble,
crave your favour in this matter, and shall alwayes remaine.

Sir, your ffaithful and humble servant,


_The Address of the Deputies, assembled at Hempstead._

We the deputies duly elected from the several towns upon Long-Island,
being assembled at Hempstead, in general meeting, by authority derived
from your royal highness unto the honorable Colonel Nicolls, as deputy
governor, do most humbly and thankfully acknowledge to your royal
highness, the great honor and satisfaction we receive in our dependence
upon your royal highness according to the tenor of his sacred majesty’s
patent, granted the 12th day of March, 1664; wherein we acknowledge
ourselves, our heirs and successors forever, to be comprized to all
intents and purposes, as therein is more at large expressed. And we do
publickly and unanimously declare our cheerful submission to all such
laws, statutes and ordinances, which are or shall be made by virtue of
authority from your royal highness, your heirs and successors forever:
As also, that we will maintain, uphold, and defend, to the utmost of our
power, and peril of us, our heirs and successors forever, all the
rights, title, and interest, granted by his sacred majesty to your royal
highness, against all pretensions or invasions, foreign or domestic; we
being already well assured, that, in so doing, we perform our duty of
allegiance to his majesty, as freeborn subjects of the kingdom of
England inhabiting in these his majesty’s dominions. We do farther
beseech your royal highness to accept of this address, as the first
fruits in this general meeting, for a memorial and record against us,
our heirs and successors, when we or any of them shall fail in our
duties. Lastly we beseech your royal highness to take our poverties and
necessities, in this wilderness country, into speedy consideration;
that, by constant supplies of trade, and your royal highnesses more
particular countenance of grace to us, and protection of us, we may
daily more and more be encouraged to bestow our labors to the
improvement of these his majesty’s western dominions, under your royal
highness; for whose health, long life, and eternal happiness, we shall
ever pray, as in duty bound.

_List of the Deputies._

    New-Utrecht    Jaques Cortelleau     Younger Hope
    Gravesend      James Hubbard         John Bowne
    Flatlands      Elbert Elbertsen      Roeloffe Martense
    Flatbush       John Striker          Hendrick Gucksen
    Bushwick       John Stealman         Gisbert Tunis
    Brooklyn       Hendrick Lubbertsen   John Evertsen
    Newtown        Richard Betts         John Coe
    Flushing       Elias Doughty         Richard Cornhill
    Jamaica        Daniel Denton         Thomas Benedict
    Hempstead      John Hicks            Robert Jackson
    Oysterbay      John Underhill        Matthias Harvey
    Huntington     Jonas Wood            John Ketcham
    Brookhaven     Daniel Lane           Roger Barton
    Southold       William Wells         John Youngs
    Southampton    Thomas Topping        John Howell
    Easthampton    Thomas Baker          John Stratton
    Westchester    Edward Jessup         ---- Quinby

The people of Long-Island considered the language of this address as too
servile for freemen; and were exasperated against the makers of it to
such a degree that the court of assizes, in order to save the deputies
from abuse, if not from personal violence, thought it expedient, at
their meeting in October 1666, to declare that “whosoever hereafter
shall any wayes detract or speake against any of the deputies signing
the address to his royall highnes, at the general meeting at Hempstead,
they shall bee presented to the next court of sessions, and if the
justices shall see cause, they shall from thence bee bound over, to the
assizes, there to answer for the slander upon plaint or information.”

The deputies subsequently to the address made to the duke of York, made
one to the people, in which they set forth their reasons for agreeing to
the code styled the duke’s laws.


The following is a copy of the first charter by which the corporation
obtained any color of title to the land between high and low water mark,
on the Brooklyn side.

     “Anne, by the grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and
     Ireland, Queen, defender of the Faith, &c. To all whom these
     presents may in any wise concern, sendeth greeting. Whereas the
     mayor, aldermen, and commonalty of the city of New-York, by their
     petition to our trusty and well-beloved cousin Edward, Viscount
     Cornbury,[30] our captain general and governor in chief in and over
     our province of New-York, and territories depending thereon in
     America, and Vice Admiral of the same, &c. preferred in council;
     therein setting forth, that they having a right and interest, under
     divers antient charters and grants, by divers former governors and
     commanders in chief of our said province of New-York,[31] under our
     noble progenitors, in a certain ferry from the said city of
     New-York, over the East River, to Nassau Island, (alias
     Long-Island) and from the said Island to the said city again, and
     have possessed the same, and received all the profits benefits and
     advantages thereof for the space of fifty years and upwards; and
     perceiving the profits, advantages, and benefits usually issuing
     out of the same, to diminish, decrease, and fall short of what
     might be reasonably made of the same, for the want of the bounds
     and limits to be extended and enlarged on the said Island side,
     whereby to prevent divers persons transporting themselves and goods
     to and from the said Island Nassau (alias Long Island) over the
     said river, without coming or landing at the usual and accustomed
     places, where the ferry boats are usually kept and appointed, to
     the great loss and damage of the said city of New-York; have humbly
     prayed our grant and confirmation, under the great seal of our said
     province of New-York, of the said ferry, called the Old Ferry, on
     both sides of the said East River, for the transporting of
     passengers, goods, horses and cattle, to and from the said city, as
     the same is now held and enjoyed by the said mayor, aldermen and
     commonalty of the said city of New-York, or their under tenant, or
     under tenants; and also of all that vacant and unappropriated land,
     from high water mark to low water mark, on the said Nassau Island,
     (alias Long Island) lying contiguous and fronting the said city of
     New York, from a certain place called the Wall-about, unto the Red
     Hook, over against Nutten Island, for the better improvement and
     accommodation of the said ferry; with full power, leave and license
     to set up, establish, maintain, and keep one or more ferry, or
     ferries, for the ease and accommodation of all passengers and
     travellers, for the transportation of themselves, goods, horses and
     cattle, over the said river, within the bounds aforesaid, as they
     shall see meet and convenient, and occasion require; and to
     establish, ordain and make, bye laws, orders, and ordinances for
     the due and orderly regulation of the same: The which petition we
     being minded to grant, Know Ye, That of our especial grace, certain
     knowledge and meer motion, we have given, granted, ratified and
     confirmed, and in and by these presents, for us, our heirs and
     successors, we do give, grant, ratify and confirm, unto the said
     mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the city of New-York, and to
     their successors and assigns, all that the said ferry, called the
     Old Ferry, on both sides of the said East River, for the
     transportation of passengers, goods, horses and cattle, over the
     said river, to and from the said city and island, as the same is
     now used, held and enjoyed, by the said mayor, aldermen and
     commonalty of the city of New-York, or their under tenant or under
     tenants, with all and singular the usual and accustomed ferriage,
     fees, perquisites, rents, issues, profits, and other benefits and
     advantages whatsoever, to the said Old Ferry belonging, or
     therewith used, or thereout arising; and also all that the
     aforesaid vacant and unappropriated ground, lying and being on the
     said Nassau Island, (alias Long-Island) from high water mark to low
     water mark aforesaid, contiguous and fronting the said city of
     New-York, from the aforesaid place called the Wallabout to Red Hook
     aforesaid; that is to say, from the east side of the Wallabout,
     opposite the now dwelling house of James Bobine, to the west side
     of the Red Hook, commonly called the Fishing-place, with all and
     singular the appurtenances and hereditaments to the same belonging,
     or in any wise of right appertaining; together with all and
     singular the rents, issues, profits, advantages, and appurtenances,
     which heretofore have, now are, & which hereafter shall belong to
     the said ferry, vacant land, and premises, herein before granted
     and confirmed, or to any or either of them, in any wise
     appertaining, or which heretofore have been, now are, and which
     hereafter shall belong, be used, held, received, and enjoyed; and
     all our estate, right, title and interest, benefit and advantage,
     claim and demand, of, in or to the said ferry, vacant land and
     premises, or any part or parcel thereof, & the reversion &
     reversions, remainder and remainders; together with the yearly, and
     other rents, revenues and profits of the premises, and of every
     part and parcel thereof, except and always reserved out of this our
     present grant and confirmation, free liberty, leave and license to
     and for all and every person or persons, inhabiting or having
     plantations near the said river, by the water side, within the
     limits and bounds above mentioned, to transport themselves, goods,
     horses, and cattle, over the said river, to and from the said city
     of New-York, and Nassau Island, (alias Long-Island) to and from
     their respective dwellings or plantations, without any ferriage, or
     other account to the said ferry, hereby granted and confirmed, to
     be paid or given; so always as the said person or persons do
     transport themselves only, and their own goods, in their own boats
     only, and not any stranger or their goods, horses or cattle, or in
     any other boat. To have and to hold, all and singular the said
     ferry, vacant land and premises, herein before granted and
     confirmed, or meant, mentioned, or intended to be hereby granted
     and confirmed (except as is herein before excepted) and all and
     singular the rents, issues, profits, rights, members and
     appurtenances, to the same belonging, or in any wise of right
     appertaining, unto the said mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the
     city of New-York, and their successors and assigns forever; to the
     only proper use and behoof of the said mayor, aldermen, and
     commonalty of the city of New-York, and their successors and
     assigns forever; to be holden of us, our heirs and successors, in
     free and common soccage, as of our manour of East-Greenwich, in the
     county of Kent, within our kingdom of England; yielding, rendering,
     and paying unto us, our heirs and successors, for the same, yearly,
     at our custom-house of New-York, to our collector and receiver
     general there for the time being, at or upon the feast of the
     nativity of St John the Baptist, the yearly rent or sum of five
     shillings, current money of New-York. And we do further, of our
     especial grace, certain knowledge and meer motion, for us, our
     heirs and successors, give and grant unto the said mayor, aldermen
     and commonalty, and their successors, full and free leave and
     license to set up, establish, keep, and maintain one or more ferry
     or ferries, as they shall from time to time think fit and
     convenient, within the limits and bounds aforesaid, for the ease
     and accommodation of transporting of passengers, goods, horses and
     cattle, between the said city of New-York and the said Island
     (except as is herein before excepted) under such reasonable rates
     and payments as have been usually paid and received for the same;
     or which at any time hereafter, shall be by them established, by
     and with the consent and approbation of our governor and council of
     our said province, for the time being[32] And we do further, of our
     especial grace, certain knowledge, and meer motion, give, and grant
     unto the said mayor, aldermen, and commonalty of the city of
     New-York, and their successors, full and absolute power and
     authority, to make, ordain, establish, constitute and confirm, all
     manner of by-laws, orders, rules, ordinances and directions, for
     the more orderly keeping, and regularly maintaining the aforesaid
     ferry that now is kept, or any ferry or ferries which shall at any
     time or times hereafter, be set up, established, or kept within the
     bounds aforesaid, by virtue hereof, or of, for, touching or
     concerning the same, (so always as the same be not contrary to our
     laws of England, and of our province of New-York) and the same at
     all times hereafter to put in execution, or abrogate, revoke, or
     change, as they in their good discretion shall think fit, and most
     convenient, for the due and orderly keeping, regulating, and
     governing the said ferry or ferries herein before mentioned. And
     lastly, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby declare and
     grant, that these our letters patent, or the record thereof, in the
     secretary’s office of our said province of New-York, shall be good
     and effectual in the law, to all intents and purposes whatsoever,
     notwithstanding the not true and well reciting or mentioning of the
     premises, or any part thereof, or the limits and bounds thereof, or
     of any former or other letters patents, or grants whatsoever, made
     or granted; or of any part thereof, by us, or any of our
     progenitors, unto any person or persons whatsoever, bodies politic
     or corporate,[33] or any law or other restraint, incertainty, or
     imperfection whatsoever, to the contrary in any wise
     notwithstanding, and although express mention of the true yearly
     value, or certainty of the premises, or of any of them, or of any
     other gifts or grants by us or by any of our progenitors,
     heretofore made to the said mayor, aldermen, and commonalty of the
     city of New-York, in these presents, is not made, or any other
     matter, cause, or thing whatsoever, to the contrary thereof in any
     wise notwithstanding. In testimony whereof, we have caused these
     our letters to be made patent, and the seal of our said province of
     New-York, to our said letters patent to be affixed, and the same to
     be recorded, in the secretary’s office of our said
     province.--Witness our right trusty and well-beloved cousin, Edward
     Viscount Cornbury, captain general and governor in chief in and
     over our province of New-York aforesaid, and territories thereon
     depending in America, and vice admiral of the same, &c. in council,
     at our Fort, in New-York, the nineteenth day of April, in the
     seventh year of our reign, Annoq. Domini one thousand seven hundred
     and eight.


At the time of printing that part of this work under the head of “Common
lands and the division thereof,” the compiler was not aware of the
existence of the following proceeding relating to the division of the
said lands, he has therefore placed the same in this appendix.

“At a towne meeting held this twentieth day of Aprill, 1697, at Bedford
within the jurisdiction of Broockland, in Kings County, upon the Island
of Nassau, Resolved by all the ffreeholders of the towne of Broockland
aforesaid, that all their common land not yet laid out or divided,
belonging to their whole patent shall be equally divided and laid out
to each ffreeholders of said towne, his just proporcon in all the common
lands abovesaid, except those that have but an house and a home lott,
which are only to have but half share of the lands aforesaid. And for
the laying out of the said lands there are chosen and appointed by the
ffreeholders abovesaid, Capt. Henry Ffilkin, Jacobus Vanderwater, Daniel
Rapale, Joris Hansen, John Dorlant, and Cornelius Vanduyne. It is
further ordered that noe men within this township abovesaid, shall have
priviledge to sell his part of the undivided lands of Broockland not yet
laid out, to any person living without the township abovesaid. It is
likewise ordered, consented to, and agreed by the towne meeting
aforesaid, that Capt. Henry Ffilkin shall have a full share with any or
all the ffreeholders aforesaid, in all the common land or woods in the
whole patent of the towne of Broockland aforesaid, besides a half share
for his home lott; To have and to hold to him, his heirs and assigns
forever. It is likewise ordered, that noe person whatsoever within the
common woods of the jurisdicon of Broockland aforesaid, shall cutt or
fall any oake or chesnut saplings for fire wood during the space of
foure years from the date hereof upon any of the said common lands or
woods within the jurisdicon of Broockland patent, upon the penalty of
six shillings in money, for every waggon load of saplings abovesaid soe
cutt, besides the forfeiture of the wood or timber soe cutt as
abovesaid, the one half thereof to the informer, and the other half for
the use of the poor of the towne of Broockland aforesaid.

By order of the towne meeting aforesaid,
and Justice Henry Ffilkin,



The Compiler here closes his notes, and has only to remark, that
throughout the whole of this little work, he has been less solicitous
about his reputation as an author, than a correct compiler. Studies of
this nature are but ill calculated to admit of a luxuriance of diction
or sentiment, and to these he has in no place aspired. His business was
to collect authentic information concerning subjects at once obscure and
interesting, and in what degree he has effected this object he leaves
his readers to determine, feeling conscious himself, that however
imperfectly he may have executed his design, his only aim was the public


Situation of the Town of Brooklyn,                                     5

Ancient Names and Remains,                                             6

Soil and Climate,                                                      7

Ancient Grants and Patents,                                            8

Town Rights and Ferries,                                              21

Roads and Public Landing Places,                                      36

Common Lands, and the Division thereof,                               40

Differences as to Bounds,                                             46

Revolutionary Incidents,                                              50

Ancient Government,                                                   55

Present Government,                                                   68

Public Buildings and Institutions,                                    73

Schools, Newspapers and Moral Character,                              92

Fire Department,                                                      95

Miscellaneous,                                                        99

Appendix,                                                            102


 [1] The custom of changing the names of sons, or rather substituting
 the sur-names for the christian name, prevailed at this period; as in
 the above instance, the father’s name was Barent Janse, and the son
 was called Jan Barentse.

 [2] According to the New-York doctrine, this boundary of the town can
 only be correct when the tide is flood, for when the water is low, the
 town is bounded by property belonging to the Corporation of the City
 of New-York, and not by the River.

 [3] This town enjoyed this privilege in common with the other towns on
 Long-Island, and their cattle which ran at large were marked with the
 letter N.

 [4] At the annual town meeting, April, 1823, a committee was appointed
 to inquire if this town at present, had any, and if any, what right to
 the above-mentioned tract of meadow ground called Sellers neck; what
 progress this committee made in their investigation, the compiler is
 uninformed. This meadow called Seller’s neck, the Compiler thinks was
 apportioned among the patentees and freeholders, and what leads him to
 this conclusion is, that on the 10th of May, 1695, John Damen, who was
 one of the patentees of this town, sold to William Huddlestone all his
 interest in the said meadow.

 [5] This “port or entrance,” as it is called, is situate in the
 valley on the Flatbush Turnpike, near the “Brush” or “Valley Tavern,”
 and a short distance beyond the 3 mile post from Brooklyn ferry.--A
 freestone monument has been placed here, to designate the patent line
 between Brooklyn and Flatbush.

 [6] Although the bounds of this grant commences about 250 yards in the
 town of Bushwick, the Corporation of New-York have made no claim to
 land beyond the Wallabought.

 [7] There was some peculiar circumstances attending the consummation
 of this charter, which the Compiler thinks ought to be known. A short
 time previous to obtaining the charter, the Common Council of the City
 of New-York resolved that the sum of _L_1400 was necessary for the
 procuring of that instrument; _L_1000 of which sum they determined
 to raise immediately by a loan on interest for one year; which they
 accordingly did, and gave a mortgage for that amount to James De
 Lancey, Esq. dated January 14, 1730. Directly after the execution of
 this mortgage they resolved to address the Governor, “for the great
 favour and goodness shewn to this Corporation in granting their
 petition, in ordering and directing his Majesty’s letters patent for
 a new charter and confirmation to this Corporation,” and probably
 informing him that they had obtained the money. The consequence was,
 that on the next day, January 15, 1730, the charter was completed;
 and on paying the _L_1000 was delivered to them on the 11th day of
 February, 1730, almost a month after its date. By which it appears
 that the Corporation of New-York still continued purchasing the right
 of the town of Brooklyn from the Colonial Governors. See List of
 Corporation Charters and grants, 1747.

 [8] The jurisdiction of New-York by their first charter in 1686, was
 limited to low water mark around Manhattan Island; but was extended to
 low water mark on the Brooklyn side by Governor Montgomery’s charter
 in 1730.

 [9] For what purpose was it, that the Corporation’s Counsel was heard
 at the bar of the House, if not to advance and support their rights?
 If it was not done at that time, the plain inference would be, that
 they were aware they had no right.

 [10] The Council was appointed by the King’s mandamus and sign manual,
 and all their privileges and powers were contained in the Governor’s
 instructions. The tenure of their places was extremely precarious. See
 Smith’s History of New-York, p. 364.

 [11] The Corporation of New-York, during the year 1824, have received
 from the ferries, the sum of D12,003 75,--more than 3-4ths of which
 sum is from the ferries on the East River.

 [12] The idea intended to be conveyed by this regulation, I understand
 to be, that the Justices of the town of Brooklyn shall have cognizance
 of the offence, as much as if the offenders resided within the town.

 [13] The records referred to, together with all our other town records
 were destroyed during the Revolution.

 [14] The fortifications at Red Hook were erected by a Regiment of
 Continental troops, the night of April 8, 1776.

 [15] In 1655, a large body of Northern Indians made a descent on
 Staten Island, and massacred 67 persons; after which they crossed to
 Long-Island, and invested Gravesend; which place was relieved by a
 party of soldiers from New-Amsterdam. It appears from the records that
 these Indians were on their way to commence a war against the Indians
 on the east end of Long-Island.

 The inhabitants of Flatbush were ordered by Governor Stuyvesant, in
 1656, to enclose their village with palisadoes to protect them from
 the Indians. These fortifications were required to be kept under the
 English government, as will appear by the following record of the
 Court of Sessions for the West Riding of Yorkshire upon Long-Island,
 December 15th, 1675. “The towne of Fflatbush having neglected the
 making of ffortifications, the Court take notis of it, and reffer the
 censure to ye Governor.”

 [16] There were also a “Clerk” in most if not in all of these towns,
 who seems to have been authorised to take proof of the execution of
 wills; whether he was the Town Clerk does not appear. This officer
 was differently appointed in the different towns. In Bushwick he was
 appointed by the Commissioners of the town, and in New-Utrecht he was
 elected by the people, and approved of by the Governor.

 [17] This law provides, that any person not having a visible estate,
 or a manual craft or occupation, coming into any place within this
 province, should give security, not to become chargeable within two
 years: and the captains of vessels bringing passengers into this
 province, were required to report them to the chief magistrate of the
 place, within 24 hours after their arrival. Under the Dutch government
 the poor were supported out of the fines imposed for offences
 committed, and by contributions taken up in the Churches.

 [18] Sept. 14, 1696, about 8 o’clock in the evening, John Rapale,
 Isaac Remsen, Joras Yannester, Joras Danielse Rapale, Jacob Reyersen,
 Aert Aersen, Tunis Buys, Garret Cowenhoven, Gabriel Sprong, Urian
 Andriese, John Williamse Bennet, Jacob Bennet, and John Meserole,
 jr. met armed at the court-house of Kings, where they destroyed and
 defaced the king’s arms which were hanging up there.

 [19] The West Riding was composed of the towns of Brooklyn, Bushwick,
 Flatbush, Flatlands, New-Utrecht, and Gravesend, together with
 Staten-Island and Newtown.

 [20] At the same period, the salary of the clerk of the county was
 _L_10. per annum.

 [21] This minister died in the month of June, 1676.

 [22] This minister was naturalized in the Court of Sessions for Kings
 County, November 8, 1715.

 [23] This office was held by George S. Wise, Jun, Esq. until his death
 in November, 1824.

 [24] Governor Nicolls in a letter to the Duke of York, November, 1665,
 informed him “that such is the mean condition of this town, (New-York)
 that not one soldier to this day has lain in sheets, or upon any other
 bed than canvass and straw.

 1678, New-York contained 343 houses, and 3430 inhabitants; and there
 were owned in the City, three ships, eight sloops and seven boats.

 1686. The City of New-York contained 594 houses, and 6000 inhabitants;
 and there were owned in it, 10 three masted vessels of between 80
 and 100 tons; 3 ketches, or barques, of about 40 tons; and about
 20 sloops, of 25 tons. In the same year, the militia of the colony
 consisted of 4000 foot, 300 horse, and one company of dragoons.

 1696. There were owned in the city of New-York, 40 ships, 62 sloops,
 and 62 boats.

 In 1697, the population of New-York has considerably decreased, from
 what it was in 1686; the census taken this year was as follows:

         { Men,                            946
  Whites { Women,                         1018
         { Young men, young men and boys,  864
         { Young women and girls,          899
                                          ----   3727

          { Men,                           209
  Blacks. { Women,                         205
          { Boys and girls,                161    575
                                         ------  ----
                                         Total.  4302
                                         ------  ----

   1731. The City of New-York contained

  White males,                            3771
  White females,                          3274   7045

  Black males,         785
  Black females,       792   1577
                     ------  ----
                     Total.  3622
                     ------  ----

  1756. The City contained 10,881 inhabitants.
  1771. It contained 21 863 inhabitants.
  1786. It contained 3340 houses, and 23,614 inhabitants.
  1790. It contained 33131 inhabitants.
  1800.              60189
  1810.              96373
  1820.             139000

 [25] The town is now erecting a very neat building for an Alms-house,
 on the property lately purchased from Leffert Lefferts, Esqr.

 [26] The first settlement in this town was made by George Jansen De
 Rapalje, the father of Sarah in 1625, on the farm which is now owned
 by the family of the Schencks at the Wallaboght.

 [27] In 1700 the Court House was let to James Simson for one year,
 at _L_3 “in money.” In this agreement, “the Justices reserved for
 themselves the Chamber in the said house, called the Court Chamber,
 at the time of their publique Sessions, Courts of Common Pleas, and
 private meetings; as also the room called the prison for the use of
 the Sheriff if he hath occasion for it.”

 [28] The above deed to the Corporation of New-York did not extend
 to the River. January 15, 1717, Samuel Garritsen, of Gravesend,
 quitclaimed to David Aersen of Brooklyn, all his right and title to
 a piece of land, “lying next to the house and land belonging to the
 City of New-York, bounded north-west by the River, south-east by the
 highway that goes to the ferry, south-west by the house and land
 belonging to the City of New-York, and north-east by the house and
 land belonging to the said John Rapalje, containing one acre be the
 same more or less.” On the 16th day of the same month, David Aersen
 sold this property to Gerrit Harsum of New-York, Gunsmith, for the sum
 of _L_108 current money of New-York.

 [29] The compiler congratulates his fellow citizens on the extinction
 of those national animosities which in former times existed between
 the Dutch and English in this our happy country. We may now truly ask
 with Sterne, “are we not all relations?”

 [30] “Lord Cornbury came to this province in very indigent
 circumstances, hunted out of England by a host of hungry creditors,
 he was bent on getting as much money as he could squeeze out of the
 purses of an impoverished people.” He was infamous for his “excessive
 avarice his embezzlement of the public money, and his sordid refusal
 to pay his private debts.” Cornbury became so obnoxious to the
 inhabitants of this province, that they sent a complaint to England
 against him. The Queen in consequence of this complaint displaced
 him. “As soon as his lordship was superseded, his creditors threw him
 into the custody of the sheriff of New-York.” See Smith’s History
 of New-York. Such was the man from whom the corporation of New-York
 obtained the rights of the town of Brooklyn.

 [31] These “divers former governors,” &c. are limited to two, viz.
 Nicolls, who in 1665 granted them a charter, if that may be strictly
 called so, which only altered their form of government from scout,
 burgomasters, and schepens, to mayor and aldermen, without a word
 about ferries or water rights, or indeed any other matter--the
 original of which paper is not in existence. There is nothing to
 warrant a belief that there was a charter of any kind granted to the
 corporation between Nicolls and Dongan, who is the second of these
 “divers former governors,” &c. and who in 1686 granted them the ferry,
 (as is mentioned in a former part of this work) with an express
 reservation as to the rights of all others. The charter of Dongan,
 notwithstanding all their pompous recitals, is the oldest they can
 produce, which in any manner affects the interests of this town.

 [32] The corporation of New-York appear to have abandoned the right of
 regulating the rate of ferriage very early; for in 1717, nine years
 after the date of this charter, an act was passed by the colonial
 legislature for that purpose.

 [33] This clause was undoubtedly inserted to obviate, if possible the
 claim under the two Brooklyn patents, both of which were many years
 older than this charter.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Notes Geographical and Historical, Relating to the Town of Brooklyn in Kings County on Long-Island" ***

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